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Open Grazing Law: Court Convict Fulani Herdsman in Benue

A Magistrate Court sitting in Makurdi, had on Wednesday convicted a Fulani herdsman, Muhammad Abdullahi of Mahanga Village, in Awe Local Government Area of Nassarawa State, for violating the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law (2017), of Benue State.

When the case came up, the Police Prosecuting Officer, ASP Gbakor Hyacinth told the Court that on March 2nd, 2020, at about 19:30hrs, the State Commander of the Livestock Guards, Mr. Linus Zaki and his team arrested the accused along Guma Village of Guma Local Government with cows grazing openly, contrary to section 19(2) of Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law 2017.

When the charges were read and interpreted to the herdsman in Hausa language, he pleaded guilty to the charges.

Counsel to the accused, Mr T.I Ikyagba however pleaded to the judge for leniency on the accused, adding that the accused did not waste the time of the court as he accepted his crime and he is a first offender.

The Presiding judge, Mr Ajim after hearing the plea for leniency fined the accused person N500, 000 with an option of one year imprisonment.

In a related development, two other Fulani Herdsmen, Ibrahim Audu and Muhammadu Usman, both from Tudun Amba village of Lafia Local Government of Nassarawa State were arraigned for criminal conspiracy and mischief by fire.

The Prosecuting Police Officer told the court that on March 2nd, 2020, at about 19:30hrs, the State Commander of the Livestock Guards, Mr. Linus Zaki and his team brought the accused persons and reported that at about 15:30hrs while they were on patrol along Tom Village of Guma Village of Guma Local Government Area of Benue State, the herdsmen attacked the Livestock Guards and in the process burnt Hilux vehicle, an act contrary to section 337 of the penal code law of Benue State, 2004.

The Herdsmen pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The prosecuting Counsel however, told the Court that investigation is ongoing and asked for a new date for continuation of hearing.

The Chief Magistrate, Mr Ajim granted bail to the accused in the sum of N100,000 and one surety in like sum who must own landed property within Makurdi metropolis.

The case has been adjourned to April 21, 2020, for further mention.

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