Open Grazing: Benue Court Sends Fulani Herdsman To One-Year Imprisonment

Muhammad Abdullahi, a Fulani herdsman from Mahanga Village, Awe Local Government Area of Nassarawa State has been convicted by a Magistrate Court sitting in Makurdi for violating the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law 2017, of Benue State.

The court presided over by Isaac Ajim sentenced the accused to one-year imprisonment.

When the case came up, the Police Prosecuting Officer, ASP Gbakor Hyacinth told the Court that the State Commander of the Livestock Guards, Mr. Linus Zaki, and his team arrested the accused on March 2, around 19:30hrs 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 the Hausa language, he pleaded guilty to the charges.

Counsel to the accused, Mr. T.I Ikyagba, however, pleaded for leniency for the accused, saying 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, the accused was sentenced to one-year imprisonment with an option of fine of N500,000.

Also, 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.

According to the Prosecuting Police Officer, 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 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.

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The prosecutor, however, told the Court that investigation is still in progress and asked for another date.

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 was adjourned to April 21, for further mention.