The governors of Benue, Ekiti, and Taraba states, which are currently implementing anti-grazing laws in their states, have said the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, has no right to direct them on how to make the legislation work.
The IG had, last week, advised state governors to establish cattle ranches before implementing anti-grazing laws to avert conflict between farmers and herdsmen.
But in separate interviews with Sunday Punch, Governors Samuel Ortom (Benue); Ayodele Fayose (Ekiti) and Darius Ishaku (Taraba) asked Idris to implement the law instead of giving them lectures on how to pacify the herdsmen.
Ekiti won’t provide ranches for herdsmen – Fayose
Fayose, who is the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party Governors’ Forum, specifically said the IG had no power to order state governors around.
He also said the IG was under an obligation to obey and ensure compliance with laws made by any state’s House of Assembly.
The governor, who spoke through his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, insisted that the state would not heed the advice of the police chief.
He said, “The Inspector-General of Police has no choice than to obey the laws made by any state. It is the duty of the police to enforce the law. Cattle rearing is regarded as a private business and it is not the duty of the governors to provide land for the herders.
“The real cattle owners are rich people who can afford land; they are not the nomads you see following cattle from the North to the South.”
Our pilot scheme ranches not to pacify herders – Ishiaku
Speaking in a similar vein, the Taraba State governor maintained that his anti-grazing law was not the cause of the killings being perpetrated by the herdsmen in the state.
Rather, he said the law remained one of the solutions to end the unwarranted massacre of law-abiding people in the state.
Ishaku, who spoke through his Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs, Emmanuel Bello, said the law in Taraba State was promulgated to put a stop to incessant attacks and killings by the herders.
He said, “We have already enacted a law, but we are still prepared to listen to any good idea that brings about peace and mutual understanding among stakeholders.”
Bello explained that the state government was planning a pilot scheme on the creation of ranches to demonstrate that the global practice was also achievable in the country.
Go and challenge our law in court, Ortom tells IG
Similarly, the Benue State governor, who spoke through the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Lawrence Onoja Jr., challenged Idris to approach the court if he was not comfortable with the implementation of the law.
Onoja said, “Ibrahim Idris’ directive to state governors to establish ranches before operating grazing laws is totally against the Nigerian constitution and the act that established the Nigeria Police.
“It is not his duty and he does not have power to direct governors. The police are not to interpret the law but to enforce it. Therefore, it is not for the IG to determine whether a law is right or wrong. It is the duty of the judiciary to interpret laws. If a law is passed and the IG feels it is not good enough, the best thing to do is to challenge the law in the court for interpretation”.
The commissioner maintained that ranching remained a lucrative private business and that it would be wrong for anyone to advocate that government should establish ranches for herdsmen or whoever that is venturing into such a business.