Sunday, 11 March 2018

We Will Now Enforce Anti Grazing Law.... Police


The Nigeria Police Force said on Friday that its personnel would enforce all the laws in any state as they concerned the protection of lives and property .

The Force Public Relations Officer , CSP Jimoh Moshood , stated this in an interview , while speaking on the enforcement of the law on the open grazing ban in Benue State.

Moshood said the police would enforce all the laws as they pertained to the protection of lives and property .

The police spokesperson noted that the civil authorities had the right to issue a directive to the security agencies .

The House of Representatives had on Thursday asked President Muhammadu Buhari to direct security agencies to immediately begin the enforcement of the Open Grazing ( Prohibition ) Law in Benue State and halt the killings by herdsmen.

The House passed the resolution in Abuja as lawmakers again condemned the latest attacks on villagers in the Okpokwu Local Government Area of the state where 26 more lives were lost on Monday .

It asked the Inspector - General of Police , Ibrahim Idris and heads of other security agencies to implement the anti - open grazing law in Benue State .

When asked whether or not the police had enforced the law on open grazing by the Benue State Government as directed by the members of the House of Representatives , Moshood said, “If they are directing the IG , they have the constitutional right to give any directive to an agency over which they have an oversight . Nobody is denying that . They should be the ones to say whether we have been enforcing the ban or not .

“On our part, the police have been enforcing all the laws as they concern the protection of lives and property .

 What I ’ m telling you is that the police are bound to enforce all laws ( including the ban ).

“It is the same people who say they are giving a directive that can say whether the police have been enforcing the ban or not .”

The Benue State Commissioner of Police , Fatai Owoseni, could not be reached for comment as of the time of filing this report.

But he had earlier told one of our correspondents that 44 persons had been arrested for violating the anti - open grazing law in Benue .

Owoseni had said that the arrests were made by the military in the course of the operation, which started on February 15, 2018.

He said, “Arrests were made with regards to the non- compliance to the Open Grazing Prohibition Law of Benue State.

“Forty- four suspects were arrested by the military in the course of the exercise by the military for violating the law in the state . The suspects have been arraigned in court and their trial is ongoing .”

Besides Benue , Taraba State has made a law that bans open grazing in any part of the state .

The Inspector General of Police , Ibrahim Idris , had at a northern stakeholders summit on security on February 28, advised state governors to build ranches before banning open grazing.

He had said, “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, ”

This , he said , would make the law banning open grazing acceptable by the people.

The IGP , on Wednesday, warned governors to desist from pushing anti -open grazing laws in their respective states until they had ranches for livestock in place .

Idris ’ comment , which is a reiteration of similar warnings for which he had been criticised in 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 , ” 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 .

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