The Benue State House of Assembly has amended the Benue State Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law of 2017, providing for stiffer penalties for offenders.
The law now provides for a 14-year jail term with an option of a N5million fine for anyone caught engaging under-aged children for grazing in any part of the state.
The amendment of the legislation was done during the plenary followed the consideration of the report of the House Standing Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources.
Leading debate on the report, Chairman of the Committee and the lawmaker representing Makurdi South constituency, Terwase Aondoakaa said the amendment became expedient to address some noticeable lapses in the original law.
He explained that the amended law would provide for a N500,000 fine for any first offender caught moving livestock by foot in the state.
He stated that a second-time offender would be liable to a N1 million fine with an appropriate prison term, stressing, “the new law provides various fines for confiscated livestock including N50,000 fine per cow, N10,000 per pig, N5,000 per goat, and N1,000 for poultry.”
He appealed to the House to pass the amended bill to discourage open grazing in the state and willful disobedience and disregard for the 2017 law.
After deliberating on the report, the Speaker of the House, Titus Uba invited the Clerk of the House to read the bill for the third time after which the House passed the bill into law.