The Benue State House of Assembly has amended the law prohibiting open grazing in the State (Benue State Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law of 2017) to provide for stiffer penalties for violators.
The law has now included a 14-year jail term with an option of N5million fine for anyone found guilty of encouraging under aged children to graze cattle openly in any part of the State.
The development was sequel to a report of the House Standing Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources, revealing lapses in the original law.
Chairman of the Committee and lawmaker representing Makurdi South constituency, Mr. Terwase Aondoakaa, while leading debate on the report, explained that the amended law would provide for N500,000 fine for any first offender caught moving livestock by foot in any part of Benue.
According to him, a second time offender would be fined N1million with appropriate prison term.
He added that “the new law provides various fines for confiscated livestock including N50,000 fine per cow, N10,000 per pig, N5,000 per goat and N1,000 for poultry bird”.
After deliberating on the report, the Speaker of the House, Mr. Titus Uba invited the Clerk of the House to read the bill for the third time after which the House passed the bill into law.