Three Fulani Herdsmen Jailed In Benue State

Three herdsmen have been handed one year jail term each by a Makurdi Magistrates Court on Friday for contravening the Anti-Open Grazing Law of Benue state. It was gathered that the herdsmen Iliya Garba, Hassan Abdullahi, and Lanshak Lonfalk, were given one year imprisonment each.

The convicts were charged with criminal conspiracy and open nomadic livestock rearing and grazing. The offences are punishable under Sections 97 of the Penal Code and 19 (2) of the Open Grazing Prohibition Ranches Establishment Law of Benue, 2017. According to the prosecutor Insp. Michael Iorundu, the joint patrol team of Operation Zenda, led by Sgt. Edward Shinyi, arrested the herders on Feb. 18.

He noted that they were brought to the State Criminal and Investigation Department, Makurdi.“The team reported that the three herders, and others now at large, were openly grazing their cattle along Yeluwata Road in Guma Local Government Area of Benue,” the prosecutor said.“When the case came up for mention, the herders pleaded guilty to the charge against them, saying that they were not aware that open grazing had been prohibited in Benue.”

The Magistrate Lillian Tsumba said that the herdmen were first offenders who were also illiterates and not even aware that open grazing has been prohibited in Benue State. According to Tsumba, the open grazing prohibition needs massive exposure and education of persons at the grassroots. However, she maintained that the law must be followed to the latter. The magistrate sentenced each of the herders to one year imprison, with N500,000 option of fine each.

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