Benue Assembly spells out 14 years jail term, N5million fine for open grazing offenders

NEWS DIGEST – The Benue State House of Assembly has revised the Benue State Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law of 2017, by spelling out rigid punishments for offenders of the law.

According to the law legislated by the House, it now gives a 14 year jail term with an option of N5million fine for any individual guilty of hiring under aged children for grazing in any part of the state.

The amendment followed the the plenary consideration of the House on the report of the House Standing Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Mr. Terwase Aondoakaa who is the Chairman of the Committee and also the lawmaker representing Makurdi South constituency, announced that the amendment became reasonable to deal with some noticeable lapses in the original law.

He also clarified that the amended statute would allow for a N500,000 fine for any first offender caught transporting livestock by foot in the state.

The Chairman said announced also that the second time offender would be liable to N1million fine with appropriate prison term, stressing 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.”

He however implored the Benue Assembly to enact the amended bill to prevent open grazing in the state and intentional disobedience and disregard of the 2017 law.

The bill after it was read for the third time was passed law, following deliberations on the report.