The Benue State House of Assembly, on Friday, amended the State’s Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law of 2017, stipulating stiffer penalties for offenders.

The lawmakers amended the initial grazing law during plenary, following the consideration of a report of the House Standing Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources.

In the amended law, “anyone caught engaging underage children for grazing in any part of the state will face a 14 year jail term with an option of N5 million fine”, among other stiffer recommended penalties.

While leading the debate on the report, Chairman of the Committee, Terwase Aondoakaa, said the amendment became necessary to address some noticeable lapses in the original law.

Aondoakaa who represents Makurdi South constituency in the House, explained that the amended law stipulates a N500,000 fine for any first offender caught moving livestock by foot in the state.

 

“A second time offender would be liable to N1 million fine with appropriate prison term

“The new law also 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,” the lawmaker said.

Before the House unanimously passed the bill into law, Aondoakaa had appealed to the lawmakers to pass the amended bill to discourage open grazing in the state and wilful disobedience and disregard of the 2017 law, insisting that passing of the law will bring sanity to the state and minimize the incidences of herders/farmers clashes which has led to loss of lives

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