From Wole Balogun, Ado-Ekiti
A Chief Magistrate Court sitting in Ado-Ekiti yesterday sentenced one Ali Haruna to two years in jail for grazing his cows in a farmland in Ado-Ekiti and destroying crops in the process.
That ruling marked the beginning of the implementation of the state’s anti-grazing law.
Magistrate Idowu Ayenimo, in his judgement said the accused was arraigned in his court on January 22, 2016 over a two-count charge of willful and unlawful damage of farm crops at Ago Aduloju in Ado-Ekiti.
Recently, the House of Assembly passed the anti-grazing bill into law. The law, tagged “Prohibition of cattle and other Ruminants Grazing in Ekiti Bill, 2016 was signed into law by Govenor Ayodele Fayose and it prevented free grazing of cattle in the state, carrying of firearms by members as well as restricting grazing period to between 7:00am and 6:00pm which specifies that any herdsmen found with arms during grazing would be charged with terrorism and be jailed for six months without an option of fine.
However, legal counsel to the herdsman, Umar Imam, who spoke for the Jamu Nate Fulbe Association of Nigeria, a body of Fulani herdsmen said herdsmen who carried light weapons like cutlasses, knives, catapult and arrows within the time stipulated by the new law cannot be charged with terrorism.
He added that this contradicts the Anti-Terrorism Law as amended in the 1999 Constitution.
Imam kicked against the law and argued that the Anti-Terrorism Law of the Federation stated clearly what constituted an infringement of the law and that carrying of lesser arms does not constitute offence under the provision.
Meanwhile, governor Fayose’s Special Assistant on Communication and New Media, Lere Olayinka has replied Imam.
He insisted that the state will implement the law against all odds.
Eighteen-year-old Haruna was confirmed by the four prosecuting witnesses to have been caught allowing his cows to graze at midnight in a farm which belonging to Abdulahi Yaho and Bello Mohammed.
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