Mobile court jails herdsmen for open grazing in FCT
By Cyril Mbah, Abuja
A mobile court attached to the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) has convicted three herdsmen for violating the FCT ban on open grazing within the city centre.
The sanitation court also ordered the forfeiture of cattle seized from the herdsmen and the transfer of the animals to Kuje and Suleija prisons as well as a rehabilitation centre in Kubwa for the feeding of inmates.
An official of AEPB said the court also ruled that the convicted herders should pay N5000 each as penalty or remain in prison for another six months after serving the initial jail term of three months.
Director of the Abuja Environmental Protection Board, Alhaji Baba Shehu Lawal, who made this known to newsmen explained that the cattle rearers were punished to serve as warning to others for repeatedly violating the law banning open grazing in the territory.
Lawal said the herders and their cattle were arrested in Wuye, Games Village and Katampe areas of the territory by AEPB marshals after they ignored several warnings to desist from open grazing.
Lawal remarked that the cattle often strayed into the highways and caused fatal accidents and called on the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, to caution its members on their excesses and refrain from violating laws.
He hoped other herders would learn some lesson from the penalty, warning that further violation of the anti-grazing law would attract severe punishment.
“Grazing and rearing of cattle within the city centre is prohibited. It is prohibited by the laws establishing the FCT. The action is a nuisance. It causes traffic gridlock and accidents. The cattle also leave heaps of waste on the highway which makes the road very slippery.
“There were instances where serious accidents occurred as a result of cattle roaming the highway. We will not tolerate that attitude again in Abuja because we want to make the city a befitting capital we should all be proud about,” the director warned.