The Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, on Wednesday appealed to state governors to establish cattle ranches before they enact anti-grazing laws to prevent conflicts between farmers and herdsmen.
Idris spoke at the Northern Stakeholders’ Security Summit themed: “Nation Building: Security Challenges and The Need For Inclusive Approach,” held in Kaduna.
According to the IGP, ranches preceding anti-grazing law would make the law acceptable to all parties and reduce clashes among them.
Idris said the crisis in Benue State would have been mitigated if the government had established ranches for herdsmen before prohibiting open grazing.
The police chief said some people have been arrested in Benue and Zamfara States, adding that over 200 suspected kidnappers, armed robbers and cattle rustlers have been arrested across the country between December and last month.
He said: “It is my humble suggestion that to reduce the incidence of clashes between farmers and herdsmen, state governments should endeavour to establish cattle ranches before enacting laws to prohibit open grazing.
“It is when grazing ranches are established that herdsmen 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 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.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has mandated the police to adopt strategies effective enough to end the recurring herdsmen/farmers clashes in Nigeria.
“It must be noted that framers/herdsmen clashes did not start with this administration, yet this administration has taken more measures to end the crisis than any previous regime.”
“Over 50 AK47 rifles, 20 English made pistols, two 5MG rifles, 1000 rounds of AK47 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.’’
Idris said police commissioners across the country have been given 21-day ultimatum to mop up illegal ammunition in their domain.