Nigerian govt blames anti-open grazing law for killings by herdsmen


In a defiant tone Thursday, the Federal Government blamed the passage of anti-open grazing law in some states as the cause of the recent killings by herdsmen in some of the states.

The government has been accused of bias in its handling of the crisis, with critics asking why perpetrators of the violence have not been arrested.

Benue governor, Samuel Ortom, whose state has suffered the latest bout of bloodletting, said two weeks ago that he informed the federal government of planned attacks by herdsmen, yet the state received no protection.

In its latest reaction Thursday, the government did not blame the attackers responsible for at least 72 deaths this year. It said the decision of some states to enact laws to stop open grazing triggered the violence.

It also said the “remote” cause of the violence was the violation of areas demarcated over the years as grazing reserves.

Benue, Taraba and Ekiti are some of the states where the anti-open grazing law has taken effect.

The laws were enacted after several states suffered deadly violence often blamed on herdsmen.

Hundreds of Nigerians were killed in the first two days of this year in some of these clashes in Benue and Taraba states.

The Benue State government organised a mass burial on January 12 for 72 of the victims of the killings in Logo and Guma local government areas of the state.