Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has warned cattle owners to ensure that their animals are properly ranched to avoid open grazing in the state.
The governor gave the warning when he sighted a herd of cattle roaming the streets at Iniongun Road in Wadata area of Makurdi.
directed the “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 fails to pay the requisite fines after seven days.
In a statement signed by his Media Aide, Tever Akase, Ortom vowed that the defaulting herders will face sanctions as stipulated by the law.
The statement quoted the governor as saying the law does not accord preferences to any individual or group, whether or not they are Benue indigenes. He said:
“By the provisions of our law, no person has the right to do open grazing, and after seven days if the owner does not come to claim the cows, we are going to auction them and they will pay the fine.
“There is no going back, the law is still in force and nothing will stop us from enforcing it,” he said.
He stressed that herders who refuse to keep their livestock in ranches would be prosecuted in accordance with provisions of the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law, 2017.
The governor called on Benue people to volunteer information regarding open grazing of animals to Livestock Guards, adding that officers and men of the agency would not be everywhere.