The Benue State government has released 210 cows earlier confiscated by the state livestock guards at Mbala, Makurdi, and Gbajimba in Guma Local Government Area of the state.
The cows were returned to the owners after various fines worth N5million in total, were paid.
The commander of the Benue State Livestock Guards, Linus Zaki, while returning the cattle to the owners, warned them to desist from violating the open grazing prohibition law of 2017 and seek approval for the establishment of ranches.
He warned herdsmen not to flout the state’s anti-open grazing law, saying the state would not take it lightly with lawbreakers.
“We arrested 140 cows in Mbala on February 11, 2021, and 70 cows in Gbajimba on February 16, 2021. Altogether, we are handing over 210 cows to their owners today.
“We cannot stop implementing the law so the herdsmen must learn to follow the right procedure,” Zaki added.
The release of the cows follows the payment of N2,000 each for the 210 cows with 140 of the animals held for 14 days while 70 of them were held for eight days, amounting to over N5 million revenue into the state coffers.
Speaking on behalf of the owners of the cows, the secretary, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, Ibrahim Galma appealed for leniency saying the process of establishing ranches is too technical and scientific for an average Fulani Normad.
He expressed concern over how to cope if pivot ranches where herders could start up from were not provided for his people.