Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
About 105 cows and four sheep that were impounded by the Benue State government after they were caught openly grazing near Akawe Torkula College of Advanced and Professional Studies in Makurdi have been released to their owner.
The animals were last Wednesday arrested by the state Livestock Guards Task Force after they were caught grazing openly in the care of one herder, Kunje Saija.
They were subsequently quarantined for two days in line with the state’s anti-open grazing law before their owner showed up to claim them.
Speaking during the official hand over of the livestock to their owner, the state Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Hyacinth Nyakuma, insisted that the anti-open grazing law was still in force in the state and enjoined herdsmen to abide by the law and ranch their cattle.
“The animals were kept safe for two days under the Livestock Guards Task Force custody and the owners, having complied with the law, the animals were released to them,” he said.
The commissioner who noted that land for ranching could be made available to any herdsman who applies, assured that the task force would give the owner of the livestock cover to evacuate the animals from the state.
Earlier in a remark, state Chairman of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Ubi Haruna, who led some members of his executive including the body’s Secretary, Shettima Mohammed; Assistant Secretary, Ibrahim Galma and the owner of the cattle, Yau Umaru, to receive the animals, appreciated the Benue State government for the safe keeping of the 105 cattle and four sheep.
Haruna who admitted that the cattle guide actually trespassed the anti-open grazing law of the state however, commended the task force for the peaceful manner they employed to quarantine the animals until its owner showed up.
“We met the exact impounded numbers of the animals. We met them healthy too and they (government authority) handed the animals to us peacefully. We will continue to talk to our herders,” the MACBAN chairman added.
Commenting, the owner of the animals, Umaru, said he was in Doma area of Nasarawa State when his children without his knowledge herded the cattle into Benue state even as he thanked the state government for their peacefully releasing to him.
Highlight of the event was the issuance of a certificate of release of the animals and official hand over by Secretary, Livestock Guards Special Task Force, Dr. Ronald Kparevzua, to the owner of the cattle after the necessary procedure in line with the state grazing law was followed.
Kparevzua, who handed over 106 cows instead of the initial 105 that were impounded, disclosed that one of the cattle gave birth while the animals were being quarantined and were all well fed throughout the period of their confinement.