From Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
The Benue State Livestock Guards on Saturday paraded two cattle rustlers and an under-aged herdsman before newsmen in Makurdi.
Speaking during the parade, Security Adviser to the Governor, Col. Paul Hemba (rtd) said the cattle rustler, Atsagba Ukua and his son were arrested in Gbajimba, Gums Local Government area with six cows.
According to Col. Hemba, father and son were on their way to the cattle market in Makurdi to sell the cows when officials of the state Livestock Guards apprehended them.
“In the last few days, the Livestock Guards’ arrested a young man with his son with six rustled cows. When our men accosted him, he claimed that the cattle were arrested from his farm.
“He said some cattle came and destroyed his farm and he was taking them to the cattle market to go and sell. We didn’t tak his claim to be authentic so, we are treating him as a cattle rustler. He will be handed over to the police for prosecution.
“That is why Ortom earlier advocated for ranching because if cattle are ranched, rustling and banditry would be eliminated. Ranching is even in the best interest of the herders.
“Thank God that the whole country is coming to agree with Governor Ortom that ranching remains the best global practices,” the Security Adviser said.
Speaking further, Hemba said an under-aged herder, Quackman Yayi was arrested for grazing 60 cows openly around Yelwata in Guma local government area.
“The little boy was arrested for flouting the open grazing prohibition law. He is under aged. He was alone in the bush grazing 60 cows and is exposed to all kinds of hazards. He stands no chance to confront rustlers. He should be in school or under the care of his parents but he is not.”
On his part, Yayi who confessed to the crime told newsmen that the cattle belong to one Alhaji Yakubu.
“I was doing open grazing around Yelwata. The cattle belong to one Alhaji Yakubu. I control 60 cattle,” he said.
On his part, Ukua who was paraded alongside his teenage son said he caught the six cows on his rice farm after they had destroyed everything he laboured for.
He recalled that last year, some livestock destroyed his farm and he caught some sheep.and handed over to soldiers but was never compensated for his loss.
“I am a poor farmer. Last year, fulani came and grazed their livestock on my farm and they ate all my crops. I siezed some sheep and handed over to soldiers but I didn’t hear anything thereafter. Neither was I compensated.
“So, when it happened again this year and the cattle destroyed my rice farm, I was able to capture six cows and I decided to go and sell them so that I can get money as compensation for what they destroyed on my farm.
“I was on my way with my son to the cattle market when Livestock Guards arrested us and brought us here,” he said.