From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi
A Makurdi Chief Magistrate, Mr Isaac Ajim, Thursday convicted and sentenced a 22-year-old herder, Bala Juli of Adadu village of Nassarawa for the offence of open grazing.
The trial magistrate however, reduced the sentence to N500,000 or an option of one year imprisonment after listening to the plea for leniency by the herdsman, who pleaded guilty to the offence of open grazing, but told the court that he was not aware if there is a law that prohibits open grazing in Benue State. .
The magistrate told the herder that ignorance of the law is not an excuse, but as a first offender, he was moved to temper justice with mercy.
Mr Ajim told the herder that the law was enacted to bring peace between herdsmen and farmers and not targeted at any ethnic group or group of persons.
Earlier, the Police Prosecuting Officer, Sergeant Friday Kanshio told the court that on June 12,the Commander of the Benue State Livestock Guards, Linus Zaki and his team while on patrol along Ukoho Village in Guma Local Government Area of Benue State saw the herder with cows grazing and was arrested for violating the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law of Benue State 2017.