From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi
Four herdsmen were yesterday arraigned before a Chief Magistrate Court, Makurdi Benue State for violating the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law.
During the hearing of the case, the Police Prosecuting Officer, ASP Hyacinth Gbakor, told the court that on March 27,2020, men of the Benue State Livestock Guards arrested the herder, Adamu Ibrahim, Abubakar Usman and Salah Landi with their cows grazing in Ogobia Village, Otukpo LGA of Benue State, thereby contravening section 19(2) of the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law, 2017.
When the charges were read to the suspects, they pleaded not guilty to the charges, saying the cows had gone before they were arrested.
When asked what they were doing in the bush after the cows had left, they said they were eating honey.
The prosecuting Police Officer, ASP Gbakor told the court that investigation into the matter was still on, and asked the court for another date to enable the prosecution prove its case.
Counsel to the accused persons, Bello Abdusalam made an oral application for the bail of his clients, assuring the court that he will ensure they appear in court on the next adjourned date.
The trial Magistrate, Mr Isaac Ajim granted them bail in the sum of N500, 000 with one surety in like sum, who must be resident in Makurdi with a verifiable address.
Earlier, another herdsman, Bahago Ahmadu of Gishiri Village, Ibi LGA of Taraba State who was also arrested in Ogobia, Otukpo LGA of Benue State pleaded not guilty to the charge of open grazing.
The trial magistrate granted him bail in the sum of N500, 000 and one surety who must have a fixed address in Makurdi.
The sum of N500,000 is to be deposited with the court either by the accused or the surety.
Mr Ajim adjourned both cases to April 7th, 2020 for further mention.