Updated February 28, 2018
The Inspector-General of Police, 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 made this known in Kaduna state at the Northern States Stakeholders Security Summit, with the theme, ‘National Building: Security Challenges and the Need for Inclusive Approach”.
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, however, disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari, had mandated the police to adopt strategies effective enough to end the recurring Herders/Farmers clashes in Nigeria.
“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.
“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.’’
“It must, however, be noted that farmers/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 that the present administration was taking steps to avert future occurrence.
“Some arrests have already been made and the outcome of the investigation will be made known soonest.’’
He gave details of efforts to tackle kidnapping in the country, saying that the police had in 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 a 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 estate 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.
The Deputy Governor of Kaduna, Bala Bantex state called for greater synergy among states and other stakeholders towards addressing the insecurity challenges in the country.
“This summit provides us with a timely opportunity to collectively examine the security challenges we face and proffer workable solutions as a region.
“As leaders, we are to address the persistence of violent crimes such as kidnapping, armed robbery, rural banditry, cattle rustling, and other violent crimes. These crimes continue to needlessly cost lives and property. We must discuss how to relieve human suffering, comfort our people and stop the haemorrhage.
“While the North-East has begun an admirable recovery from the ravages of terror, the recent abduction of young girls in Dapchi is a painful reminder that evil has not given up. In the North-West, rural banditry is a serious concern and the most egregious attacks have been visited on our compatriots in Zamfara, while we in Kaduna have suffered on a different scale. The tensions and killings in the North-Central have needlessly torn apart communities.
“These are difficult moments. Apart from the loss of lives, the injuries and the pains of death and loss, vital social capital is imperilled.
The bonds of trust that enabled communities to easily uphold harmony and concord risk being broken. And the cycle of violent conflict scares investors away and slows much-needed growth and development of the region”.