From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi
A Makurdi Chief Magistrate court presided over by Mr Isaac Ajim yesterday has convicted and sentenced two herdsmen, Sani Adamu and Abdullahi Musa for violating the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law of Benue State.
The two herders who hail from Ayangba local government area of Kogi State were sentenced to one year imprisonment for the offence of open grazing.
The Chief Magistrate however, tempered justice with mercy after hearing the plea of the convicts for leniency and fined them in the sum of N500, 000 which in default payment would serve a jail term of one year.
Delivering judgment in the suit filed by the Police against the convicts, Mr Ajim stated that the prosecution which called two witnesses, including a member of the Livestock Guards, Sule Ngbede has proved its case beyond all reasonable doubt to warrant conviction of the herders.
Mr Ajim said the Livestock Guards officer Mr Ngbede gave an eye witness account which no court of law would disbelieve him.
He held that the convicts were lying before the court when they said that they were in the bush looking for honey and failed to show any evidence or instrument to prove their claim.
Mr Ajim said he believed the evidence of the Livestock Guards that they could not arrest any of the cows because one of the herders who escaped with the cows shot a gun in the air to scare them away, adding that going after the herder with a gun and the cows was a risky enterprise.
He accordingly, convicted the two herders to serve as a deterrent to others.
The two herders were arrested on April 15, 2020 at Allifinti Village in Apa local government area of Benue State and arraigned on April 17, 2020 for contravening the open grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law 2017 of Benue State.
On that day, they pleaded not guilty to the charge, saying they were in the bush looking for honey.