From Femi Oyelola Kaduna and Ali Alkali, Abuja with Agency report
The Inspector-General of Police, Alhaji Ibrahim Idris has advised state governors to prioritize the establishment of cattle ranches before enacting anti-grazing law to stem the obnoxious scourge of farmers and herdsmen clashes.
The IGP stated this at the Northern States Stakeholders Security Summit held at Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Indoor Hall, Kaduna, with the theme, “National Building: Security Challenges and the need for inclusive approach”.
Establishing ranches before enacting anti-grazing law, according to IGP Idris, is the only way to make the law acceptable by all the parties concerned, and other critical stakeholders.
According to him, “It is my humble suggestion that to reduce the incidence of clashes between farmers and herders in Nigeria, State Governments should endeavour to establish grazing ranches in their various states before enacting laws to prohibit open rearing and grazing.
“It is when grazing ranches are established that herders can be arrested and punished for rearing and grazing on the open places.
“Doing so, I am of the opinion that it will make the law acceptable by all the parties concerned and other critical stakeholders in that all important sector.
The police chief also cautioned against hasty formulation and implementation of such laws across the country, noting that doing so would only aggravate the reoccurring farmers and herdsmen clashes in the country.
“It will do us good if we avoid the hasty formulation and implementation of such laws across the country in the interest of peace and unity,” he cautioned.
According to the IGP, the crisis in Benue would have been mitigated, if the state had first established grazing ranches before prohibiting open grazing.
He disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari had mandated the police to adopt “strategies effective enough to end the recurring Herders/Farmers clashes in Nigeria.
“It must however be noted that Framers/Herders clashes did not start with this administration, yet this administration has taken more measures to end the crisis than any previous regime.”
He added that the Police have made some arrests in Benue and other places, and warned that there would be no sacred cows, as anyone who violates the law would be arrested and prosecuted.
The IGP also spoke on the problem of banditry in Zamfara, saying the present administration was taking steps to avert future occurrence.
The IGP also said the insurgency in the North East has been decimated, adding that from December 2017 to February 2018 over 200 kidnappers, armed robbery and cattle rustling suspects have been arrested by the police.
“Over 50 AK-47 Rifles, 20 English made Pistols, 2 SMG Raffles, over 1000 rounds of AK-47 Rifles and assorted pistol ammunition were recovered from them.
“These recoveries raise serious alarm on number of illegal arms at the disposal of criminals and bandits
“This must not be allowed to continue, especially as the 2019 general election is fast approaching.
“To stop this trend, I have directed all Commissioners of police in State Commands and supervisory AIGs to ensure the mop up of illegally acquired arms and ammunition in the country,” he said.