The Bayelsa Livestock Management Committee (BSLMC) on Tuesday said it impounded 34 cows in Yenagoa for an alleged violation of the state’s anti-open grazing law.
The Bayelsa State Government had enacted a law in March prohibiting open grazing of livestock in the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) learnt that the cows were impounded around the Bayelsa Palm Estate in the state capital.
David Alagoa, chairman of BSLMC, told reporters that the herders allegedly chose a convenient time in the night to graze, saying that some of the cattle were spotted grazing in farmlands.
Mr Alagoa, who is also the Commissioner for Agriculture, said the committee would follow the anti-open grazing law to the letter in handling the issue.
He maintained that the impounded cattle would remain in the custody of the committee until the herders paid the prescribed fine.
“Over time, the communities around Bayelsa Palm Estate have become open fields for the cows because the herders are moving them and trekking around the area.
“We have been monitoring their movements over time and we decided to do a surprise hit.
“We are going to follow the law that states that when we impound, there is also a fee to be paid in that process and I want to assure you that we are going to follow the law,” Mr Alagoa said.
Also speaking, Agberebi Akpoebi, the special adviser on security to Governor Douye Diri, said the committee was working in synergy with its local government operatives to see that the anti-open grazing law in the state is fully enforced.
“If they (operatives) see cows anywhere in the state, they let us know. We go and verify and we take the necessary steps to make sure they do not embark on open grazing anymore,” Mr Akpoebi said.
Reacting to the development, the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of Operations in Bayelsa, Aminu Alhassan, said a lot of sensitisation had been carried out before the committee started to enforce the law.
“The management of the situation is very clear. We were all part of the law that brought about the anti-open grazing and we are very conversant with it.
“We have sensitised everybody and the way we have done it now, even the least person in the business of livestock is fully aware.
“The only thing is that implementation is taking some slow dimension because there are still some people who are adamant about compliance.
“We have just started taking actions to ensure that the law takes its course so that nobody can truncate it,” Mr Alhassan said. (NAN)