Open grazing: Court sentences herdsman to prison

By Martin Iyonguvihi

A 15-year-old herdsman, Auwala Haruna, was Tuesday convicted and sentenced to one year and six months imprisonment by a Makurdi Chief Magistrate Court for violating the anti-open grazing law of Benue state.

The convict, who pleaded guilty when he was arraigned by the Benue Police Command for allegedly committing the offense contrary to section 19(2) of open grazing prohibition and ranches establishment law of Benue state 2017, said he wasn’t aware of the law, having spent just two weeks in Otukpo area of the state.

According to the Prosecutor, Hyacinth Gbakor, the convict was arrested in Otukpo by men of Benue State Livestock Guard, during their patrol along Taraku-Gwer Local Government Area, where they saw the herdsman grazing openly with his cattle.

Delivering the judgment, the Magistrate, His worship Mr V.T Kor Esq, held that ignorance of the law is not an excuse and with the defendant’s open admission for committing the offence, the court tried him summarily under section 353(b) of the administration of Criminal Justice Law of Benue state 2019 and as such, find him guilty as charged.

He was subsequently convicted and sentenced to one year and six months in prison at the Federal Correctional Facility Centre in Makurdi, or in the alternative, to pay a fine N500,000.

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