BENUE State government has won a major legal battle in its ongoing fight with the Miyetti Allah cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (Macban) after an Abuja high court ruled that the ban on open grazing was legal.
Last year, Governor Samuel Ortom assented to the Benue Open Grazing Prohibition Law after it was passed by the state house of assembly. It bans open grazing and limits the cultivation of cattle to designated ranches but Macban have opposed the law, saying it restricts their freedom of movement.
Subsequently, Macban took the Benue State government to court but earlier today, the Abuja high court dismissed the suit. Justice Okon Abang on Thursday also awarded N100,000 damages against the herdsmen’s body, which is to be paid to all the 14 defendants named in the suit.
In his ruling, the judge held that the plaintiff failed to comply with an order issued by the court in 2017 which directed the association to amend the originating summons. It is not yet clear if Macban intends to appeal the judgement or if it will comply and give up plans to resume grazing in Benue State.