Benue State chapter of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) has strongly appealed to the state government to reduce the N50,000 fine recently placed on each impounded cattle.
Recall that only last week, the state Governor, Samuel Ortom assented to the amended Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law thus raising the fine of each impounded cattle from N2,000 to N50,000.
Mohammed who, in his appeal posited that his members cannot afford the N50,000 per cattle as enshrined in the amended law, said the Association would have made its position known if there was a public hearing before the amendment to the law was made.
“The livestock that we have is not a crime; it’s not a weapon but is the food that we have and also disperse to others. The whole state benefits from our livestock. So, I’m appealing in that order that the N50,000 fine per cattle impounded as amended is not affordable to us.”
State Chairman of MACBAN, Alhaji Risku Mohammed while addressing newsmen on Wednesday in Makurdi the state capital also appealed to the state government to consider and treat all its members indigenes of the state.
Mohammed whose speech was in Hausa language but interpreted by the MACBAN Secretary, Ibrahim Galma urged the state government to always ensure that the law banning open grazing in the state applies to all people without any discrimination.
He maintained that many of them were born and bred in Benue and had been transacting business and promoting the dignity of the state all along.
“I’m appealing to the state government to consider us as indigenes. We are bonafide citizens and indigenes of this state because we vote. We are registered voters, we contribute to the economy of the state.
“Any administration coming to the state, our contributions had been there. We transact business and promote the dignity of the state and the country entirely.
“We have no other source of livelihood; our cattle are dying. The governor should not punish our race; I mean our ethnicity because our cattle which is part of our livehood is diminishing. We are human being and we have no where to go. We contribute to the positive development of the state and we are appealing that the state government should consider us,” Mohammed pleaded.
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