The Inspector-General of Police, Alhaji Ibrahim Idris on Wednesday advised state governors to prioritise the establishment of cattle ranches before enacting anti-grazing laws, to avert conflict between farmers and herdsmen.
The IGP gave the advice at the Northern States Stakeholders Security Summit, with the theme, `National Building: Security Challenges and the Need for Inclusive Approach’, held in Kaduna.
“It ¡s 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 ¡s 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.
“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.’’
According to the IGP, the crisis in Benue would have been mitigated, if the state had first established grazing ranches before prohibiting open grazing.
Idris disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari had mandated the police to adopt “strategies effective enough to end the recurring Herders/Farmers clashes ¡n 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 arrest 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 that the present administration was taking steps to avert future occurrence.
“Some arrests have already been made and the outcome of investigation will be made known soonest.’’
He gave details of efforts to tackle kidnapping in the country, saying that the police had from December, arrested over 200 kidnappers, armed robbery and cattle rustling suspects in various parts of the country.
“Over 50 AK 47 Rifles, 20 English made pistols, two 5MG Rifles, over 1000 rounds of AK 47 Rifles and other assorted pistols ammunition were recovered from them.
“These recoveries raise serious alarm on the number of illegal arms and ammunition at the disposal of criminals and bandits.
“This must not be allowed to continue especially as the 2019 general election is fast approaching.’’
According to the IGP, all police chiefs in the 36 states and FCT have been directed to mop up of illegally acquired arms and ammunition within 21 days.
He decried the arming of security outfits formed by some state governments, warning that at the expiration of the 21-day ultimatum, any person found with prohibited firearms will be arrested and prosecuted.
On the 2019 general elections, Idris appealed to politicians to desist from acts capable of truncating the elections.
“Election context must not be a do or die affair. It must be approached with the spirit of sportsmanship.
“Politicians should as a matter of urgent national importance begin to educate their supporters on the need for violent free elections.’’
He called for the support of well meaning Nigerians for security agencies to make the country safer for all.
“Let me state unequivocally that the security architecture and infrastructure of any Nation is not strong without the people.
“The people are the main reason why the architecture ¡s reliable and dependable. You are the building block, without you it will not stand. I urge you to stand strong with the Police in the fight against criminality.’’
He pledged that the police would continue to discharge its duties efficiently, effectively and in a manner that would earn it the trust and respect of all well meaning Nigerians.(NAN)