The Benue State government has released to its owner 105 cows earlier impounded by the Livestock Guards Task Force for open grazing near Akawe Torkula College of Advanced and Professional Studies in Makurdi.
It was gathered that the animals including sheep were caught grazing openly in the care of one herder named, Kunje Saija, when they were arrested by the guards and quarantined for two days in line with the state’s anti-open grazing law.
State Commissioner of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Hyacinth Nyakuma, while officially handing over the animals to its owner yesterday in Makurdi, urged the herders to abide by the state’s anti-open grazing law and ranch their cattle.
“The animals were kept safe within the two-day under the Livestock Guards Task Force custody and the owners, having complied with the law, the animals are now released to them,” he said.
Nyakuma added that the Task Force would give the owner cover to evacuate the animals from the state, urging the herders to apply for land which would be made available for them to ranch their livestock.
Earlier, the State Chairman of Myetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Ubi Haruna, who led some members of his executives to include his secretary, Shettima Mohammed, assistant secretary, Ibrahim Galma and the owner of the cattle, Yau Umaru, to receive back the animals appreciated the Benue government for keeping the coŵs safe.
Haruna admitted that the herders had trespassed the anti-open grazing law of the state and commended the task force for the peaceful manner employed in the quarantine and safe keeping of the animals until its owner showed up.
“We met the exact impounded numbers of the animals. We met them healthy too and they (government authority) handed the animals to us peacefully. We will continue to talk to our herders,” the MACBAN chairman added.
On his part, the owner of the animals, Umaru, said he was in Doma when his children without his knowledge shepherd the cattle into Benue state but appreciated the peaceful release of the animals back to him.
It was learnt that a certificate of release of the animals was officially issued and handed over by Secretary to the Livestock Guards special task force, Dr. Ronald Kparevzua, to the owner of the impounded cattle after the necessary procedure in line with the state grazing law was followed.
Kparevzua said one of the cattle gave birth during the period of being quarantined so a total of 106 coŵs instead of 105 originally arrested and 26 sheep were released to the owner in healthy condition, as he noted also that the animals were properly fed during confinement.
Newsmen report that the Commander of the Livestock Guards, Linus Zaki, confirmed that his men impounded 105 cows on December 26 in Makurdi.