By Peter Duru – Makurdi
Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state yesterday impounded a herd of cattle roaming the streets at Iniongun in the Wadata area of Makurdi town in violation of the open grazing prohibition law of the state.
The Governor who ran into the over 150 herds while inspecting the areas of the town submerged by flood expressed displeasure that the law was being violent by those who should know better.
He directed Livestock Guards to immediately impound the animals and take them to the Quarantine Unit, stressing that by provisions of the ranching law, the cattle would be auctioned if the owner failed to pay the requisite fines after seven days.
He cautioned livestock owners in Benue State to ensure that their animals were properly ranched to avoid running afoul of the grazing law or be ready to face sanctions as stipulated by the law.
According to the Governor “the Benue Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law, 2017 is no respecter of persons and does not accord preferences to any individual or group, whether or not they are Benue indigenes.
“In fact, if you allow me Benue indigenes who violate the law they themselves made to ensure peaceful coexistence between farmers and herders should be made to pay more of the fine if caught violating the law because you cannot make a law and instead of leading by example you willingly violate it. It is unacceptable.
“Any herder whether from within or outside who refuse to keep their livestock in ranches would be prosecuted in accordance with provisions of the law,” he added.
The Governor also appealed to people to volunteer information regarding open grazing of animals to Livestock Guards personnel saying officers and men of the agency could not be everywhere at the same time to enforce the law.
The Commander of Benue Livestock Guard, Mr. Linus Zaki who took a passion for the cattle said his office was still waiting for the owner of the herds to pay the necessary fines and take possession of the animals.