Over 273 cattle confiscated by the Benue state government were yesterday released to their owners after the payment of N2,000 fine per cattle as stipulated in the law.
Commissioner of agriculture and natural resources, Hon. James Anbua who disclosed this to newsmen in Makurdi said the state government had already completed one of the pilot ranches or detention ranch where all the arrested animals would be kept.
Anbua, explained that according to the Law, after 7 days of confiscating any livestock, government was free to auction them.
He said state government had promised implementing the Law with a human face hence the ministry’s decision to release the cattle to the owners even as they came after 7days.
According to the commissioner, the ministry had spent over N46,000 in the upkeep of the animals which include feeding and treatment.
While agreeing that the local government were also given powers to arrest and detain animals, Anbua advised council chairmen to also ensure the implementation of the law, informing that 66 cows had already been confiscated by local authorities.
“For now we have not started the auctioning of any of the consficated animals, because the governor had already promised to implement this law with a human face so we are sensitising all those rearing livestock alongside herdsmen to see how efficient the law will be implemented.
The commissioner who lamented that the threat to food security in the state and country following the persistent attack on farmers, averred that the attackers came at the peak of harvesting, especially rice and Soya beans.
Most of the people who took loans from Achor Borrowers’ Scheme did not even harvest their crops, because most of their farms were located at the river bank where these herdsmen are coming from, only 45 percent of rice cultivated was harvested”.
Anbua attributed the delay in harvest by farmers to the CBN, saying it only disbursed inputs component worth of N5.3m to farmers without physical cash and which made it difficult for them to harvest their crops in time.
“For me I have seen success in the Open grazing prohibition and ranches establishment law, and nobody is building ranches for any cattle rearer, how can the IGP ask states that have implemented the anti-open grazing law to first of all create ranching for the herdsmen before the enforcement of the Law? .It means we will also buy land for those engaged in other farming activities, farming is a business be it cattle or crops farming”.
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