Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
The Benue State Government has raised concerns over the continued flouting of its anti-grazing law by herdsmen and their cattle.
The Senior Special Assistant to Governor Samuel Ortom on Animal Husbandry, Alhaji Shehu Tambaya, who raised the concern in a chat with Daily Sun on Monday, lamented that the herdsmen have continued to graze their cows on Benue land despite the enforcement of the anti-open grazing law in the state.
He regretted that hundreds of cattle had in the last few weeks been impounded in some local government areas across the state as a testament to the fact that the herdsmen were not obeying the laws of the land.
“Almost on a daily basis, cows are being impounded in Guma, Logo, Katsina-Ala, Kwande among other local government areas. That shows that the herdsmen are not obeying the Benue Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law and this is not correct,” he said.
Tambaya asserted that the state government had been enforcing the law humanely, especially in ensuring the release of impounded cows even when the full fine is not paid by their owners.
He warned the herdsmen against deliberately disobeying the Benue anti-grazing law, stressing that owners of any cow impounded henceforth would be made to pay the full fine and that the herdsmen in charge at the time of impounding the cows would be prosecuted in accordance with the law.
The governor’s aide commended the soldiers of Nigerian Army 72 Special Forces Battalion, Operation Whirl Stroke (OPWS), Police, Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), the Benue Livestock Guards and other security agencies for ensuring that there are no herdsmen attacks in the state in the last one week.
He urged the security agencies to continue to be on their guard and to keep all parts of the state safe, especially as the rainy season has arrived and farmers would be returning to their farms.