A herdsman, Ali Haruna, has been jailed for two years by an Ekiti Chief Magistrate Court sitting in Ado-Ekiti. His offence was taking his cows for grazing in a farmland in the state capital and destroying crops valued at over N3m.
But the sentencing was not derived from the recently legislated state anti-grazing law which attracted mixed reactions from political commentators, because the accused was arraigned before the Magistrate in January this year, many months before the new anti-grazing law was passed and signed by the governor.
The Magistrate, Idowu Ayenimo, convicted Haruna as charged without an option of fine.
Haruna, 18, was confirmed by four prosecuting witnesses to have been caught in the midnight grazing his cow in the farm belonging to Abdulahi Yaho and Bello Mohammed.
The cash crops said to have been destroyed by the cows in the farm included cassava, maize, okro and pepper.
In his defence, the defendant had told the court that the owner of the cows lived in Ilorin, Kwara.
The magistrate said that the court did not believe Haruna’s defence as it was not credible.
He held that the Police prosecutor, Mr Olasunkanmi Bankole, had proved his case beyond reasonable doubt.
He thereby convicted the defendant as charged without option of fine.
The magistrate ordered that sentence should run concurrently, explaining that the term was minimal because the offence was committed before the Grazing Law was promulgated in the state.
The defence counsel, Mr Chris Omokhafe, had prayed the court to be liberal in the dispensation of justice, saying that he was a first offender.
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