Thursday, 1 March 2018

Build Ranches Before Passing Anti Grazing Laws - IGP

The Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, on Wednesday warned governors to desist from pushing anti-open grazing laws in their respective states until they have ranches for livestock in place.

Mr. Idris’ comment, which is a reiteration of similar warnings for which he had been criticised the past, was delivered at a security meeting with northern leaders on Wednesday in Kaduna, according to a police statement.

“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,” Mr. Idris was quoted as saying in an e-mailed statement from the Force Headquarters.

The police chief has been an ardent critic of any legislation that targets herdsmen’s activities across the country, warning that the best approach towards a peaceful resolution of the farmers-herders crisis is to work out the modalities for livestock ranching first.

Establishment of ranches across the state would make the anti-open grazing statutes “acceptable by all the parties concerned and other critical stakeholders in that all-important sector,” Mr. Idris said.

Mr. Idris’ position clashes with the policy decisions of governors in Benue, Ekiti and Taraba States, where anti-open grazing laws are now in place.

In Ekiti State, the law, signed by Governor Ayo Fayose in 2016, prohibits open-grazing between 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.

Governor Samuel Ortom followed suit in 2017 with a law that places an absolute ban on open-grazing across Benue State.

The law, which went into effect in November 2017, has been blamed for the escalating violence which had left more than 100 residents killed in attacks linked to herdsmen across Benue since January 1.

As several other states across the south are weighing laws against open-grazing, Mr. Idris warned governors not to emulate their counterparts in the three states that have so far put the law in place in order not to worsen the security situation across 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,” Mr. Idris said.

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