Anti Open Grazing Law: Benue Govt impounds 106 Cows
From Msughshima Andrew, Makurdi
Not less than 106 cows have been impounded by the Benue state government as the implementation of the Anti Open Grazing Law intensifies.
Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources in the State, Hon. James Anbua told 247ureports in his office on Monday.
The Commissioner however said about 103 of the impounded cows have been released to their owners after paying the mandatory levies with three others still in government’s custody as at the time of visit.
Mr. Anbua recalled that the Benue State Executive Council meeting had, penultimate week, announced plans to auction all animals impounded by the Livestock Unit in the implementation process of the Anti Open Grazing and Ranches Establishment Law, 2017.
According to the Agric Commissioner, the government also gave a three day grace period between March 6th and 9th, 2018 for owners to reclaim their animals without which government would be at liberty to auction them as stipulated by the Anti Open Grazing Law.
Anbua however stated that before the expiration of the three days ultimatum, the owners of the impounded animals had complied fully and their cattles were released to them.
He did not disclose how much the government had made so far from the fines but said for each cow, the offenders paid the sum of N2000 per cow for two days even though they had spent seven days in the custody of the state government.
He said the decision to reduce the fine from seven to two days was in line with Ortom’s policy that the law be implemented with a human face to enable them pay and take ownership of their animals.
“Government is not interested in seizing and auctioning anybody’s animals but we want to ensure that we provide an enabling and peaceful environment for all”.
The commissioner said the state government would continue to dialogue with all cattle owners and farmers in the state to ensure that all parties respect the law in carrying out their legitimate businesses.
He noted that the law had come to stay and called on all involved in the livestock business to approach the state government with an application to acquire land to set up ranches.
When our correspondent visited the state Ministry of Agriculture for inquiries, the Director of Livestock Services, Dr Edward Amali and a group of Veterinary doctors were seen attending to a sick cow.
Dr Amali told 247ureports that the cow was brought in sick and exhausted coupled with long hours of trek and thirst.
He insisted that ranching remains the best thing that can happen to the livestock sector of the Nigerian economy as according to him, “ranched animals produce more beef, more milk, it provides for a safe place for both animals and herders and in the long run, there is peace in the community because farmers will no longer complain of destruction of crops.”
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