By ALEX UANGBAOJE, Kaduna
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 stem the incessant Clashes between farmers and herdsmen across the country.
The IGP stated this at the Northern States stakeholders security summit holding in Kaduna state with the theme, “Nation Building: Security Challenges and the need for inclusive approach” .
Doing so, according to Idris , is the only way to make the law acceptable by all the parties concerned.
The police chief also cautions against the hasty formulation and implementation of such laws across the country, cautioning that doing so will only aggravate the reoccurring farmers/herdsmen clashes in the country.
“You are all aware of the issue of Herders and Farmers clashes which is generating a lot of concern ¡n Nigeria especially the ones in Benue, Taraba, Adamawa and other states. Let me use this opportunity to assure all Nigerians, that the President has mandated me 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. The Police have made some arrest in Benue and other places. The full wrath of the Law will be brought on anybody found guilty by the Law Courts as they will not be any sacred cow.
“However 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 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 concern 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. For instance I have visited Benue and Nasarawa States and observed that the crisis trailing the Benue State prohibition of open rearing and grazing of livestock would have been mitigated, if the State had first established grazing ranches before prohibition of open grazing as provided in the State law established by the State Assembly. The IGP added.
He emphasised tgat it is the civic responsibility of all Citizens to assist the Police with useful information on crime and criminality in the localities.
According to him, ” if you see, hear or observe anything in your locality, you are obligated to give the information to the Police. In fact, the duty must go beyond just giving the information, it must be escalated to ensuring that the offender is not only arrested but prosecuted in accordance with the laws of the Land.
“It is in recognition of the collaborative and all inclusive approach to security that ¡ adopted the community Policing strategy which is aimed at soliciting the support of the people in the communities ¡n the fight against crime. Community policing is the engagement of the community in the proactive and systematic examination of identified problems in the community and to develop and evaluate the most effective responses to such problems.
“In this approach, the Police ¡s increasingly engaging the Traditional Rulers, Religious based organizations, Market Women, Students, Non-Governmental Organizations in resolving crimes in their communities. To further advance the community policing strategy of my administration, the Commissioners of Police in the States and the Divisional Police Officers have been mandated to interface and exchange ideas on the challenges of security through town hail meetings and the Eminent Persons Forum ¡n their various areas of responsibilities.
“The Partnership we seek from the Community should extend to the areas of logistics support to the Police. The Police needs Communication and Information technology Infrastructure, Patrol/Operational Vehicles, Forensic and Scientific Aids for Investigation, Construction and Rehabilitation of Infrastructure, and Rehabilitation and Construction of Barracks. The regular budgetary allocations albeit low releases to the Police will not be sufficient to meet these needs to make it more efficient and effective.”