Ekiti Court Sentences Herdsman to 2 Years in Prison for Grazing
The controversial anti-grazing law in Ekiti State, southwest Nigeria, has come into force after a Chief Magistrate Court sitting in Ado-Ekiti on Monday sentenced one Ali Haruna to two years in prison for taking his cows grazing in a farmland.
It will be recalled that the Ekiti State House of Assembly in August assented to the anti-grazing bill of Governor Ayo Fayose which sought to curtail the menace of Fulani herdsmen in the state.
Haruna had been arraigned before Magistrate Idowu Ayenimo on Jan 22, 2016, over a two-count charge of willful and unlawful damage of farm crops at Ago Aduloju in Ado-Ekiti, PMNews reports.
The accused was confirmed by the four prosecuting witnesses to have been caught at midnight grazing his cow in the farm belonging to Abdulahi Yaho and Bello Mohammed, destroying cash crops valued at N3 million in the process.
Counsel to the defence, Mr Chris Omokhafe, had prayed the court to be liberal in the dispensation of justice considering that his client was a first offender.
Though the 18-year-old Haruna claimed that the owner of the cows lived in Ilorin, Kwara State, the magistrate held that the Police prosecutor, Mr Olasunkanmi Bankole, had proved his case beyond reasonable doubt.
Hon Ayenimo then convicted the defendant as charged without option of fine, stating that the term was minimal because the offence was committed before the Grazing Law was promulgated in the state.
The ‘prohibition of cattle and other Ruminants Grazing in Ekiti 2016’ remains a contentious bit of legislation as Nigerians are drawn in various directions over the legality of it.
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