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Benue Govt. arrests six herders, impounds 376 cows for flouting grazing law

By Idowu Abdullahi,

The Benue State Government has arrested six armed herdsmen and impounded no fewer than 376 cows in Kaseyo, Guma Local Government Area for contravening the state’s grazing law.

It explained that the arrest followed the intelligent report received by the government that there has been an influx of armed herders and cows in some border region of the state which portend dangers to the piece being enjoyed across Benue.

The state’s Deputy Governor, Benson Abounu, said that apart from contravening the state’s grazing law, the herders were arrested and cow impounded to mitigate herders-farmers clashes.

Briefing journalist in Makurdi on Wednesday, Abounu hinted that the government had begun putting modalities in place to control the influx of armed herdsmen across the state.

According to him, the government has also commenced an investigation into the recent alarm raised by the Nasarawa state Governor over the deployment of suspected Boko Haram members on the Benue, Nasarawa border.

The deputy governor noted that while herdsmen are free to apply for land and establish ranches to do their cattle business, the governor would not allow herders to graze their cows openly in violation of our law.

“While we are still investigating, we have been able to ascertain the fact that there appears to be a massive deployment of herdsmen and cattle on the brink of River Benue but on the Nasarawa state bank. We also observed that a good number of herdsmen are heavily armed with AK47 rifles. As if this was not enough we have been able to apprehend a good number of them, six of them, in a village called Kaseyo in Guma Local Government Area, LGA, of Benue state.

“In fact on January 23, a total of 156 cows belonging to these herdsmen were apprehended. And on 26 another 220 cows were apprehended from the same vicinity. And it was observed that the herdsmen were not ordinary herdsmen because they were heavily armed. So I want to make it abundantly clear that Benue state is not in any way intending to abrogate our grazing law. The law has come to stay and its been working very well. The Chief aim of the law is the prevention of conflict between herders and farmers.

“So to that extent, I think the law has been very successful because we have not been having any conflict between herders and farmers in recent time. But it appears as if something is beginning to happen that is why we are raising this alarm. There is a massive deployment of cows along the River Benue in Agatu LGA and along the same river in Gwer West LGA just as we have been able to catch some of them red-handed in Guma LGA,” Abounu said.

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