The police in Benue say they will strictly enforce the provisions of the anti-open grazing law, which comes into effect on Wednesday, Nov. 1, and curb any infringements.
The Commissioner of Police, Mr Bashir Makama, gave the warning on Tuesday in Makurdi.
He said that all the stakeholders, including herdsmen, were expected to obey the provisions of the law.
On the preparedness of the police to enforce the new law, Makama quipped: “Has there been any situation where the police were not ready to enforce the laws?’’
He, however, assured the citizens that the police would follow the provisions of the law and enforce them accordingly.
“For us, we will follow the law strictly and enforce its provisions where necessary,’’ he added.
Some Makurdi residents, who voiced support for the new law, however, called on the law enforcement agencies to make pragmatic efforts to ensure its enforcement.
Mr Justin Gbagir, a lawyer, said that laws were meant to curb certain ills in society, adding that in this instance, the law sought to address the menace of open range grazing.
He stressed that open range grazing was responsible for the incessant herdsmen-farmers clashes, adding that the law intended to end such conflicts.
Gbagir rejected the position of those agitating for the postponement of the law’s implementation.
“Laws are not enacted for the convenience of particular people but to cure certain ills in the society and in this regard, the frequent clashes between herders and farmers over land,’’ he said.
He said that the government had given enough time for herdsmen to ranch their cattle, adding that “any extension of time will amount to amending the law”.
Also speaking, Mr Baba Agan, a commercial farmer, said the implementation of the law would reduce the incidence of animal-related diseases which were rampant in rural communities.
He said that most sick cattle drank water from same water sources which the residents of the rural areas used, thereby exposing the people to the risks of catching such diseases.
The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) has, in an earlier interview with NAN, called on the Federal Government to prevail on the Benue Government to postpone the implementation of the law.
Its National Coordinator, Alhaji Garus Gololo, said that the state government had not made adequate provisions for the cattle of its members.
He said that the money that would be spent on the establishment of cattle ranches was far beyond the reach of most herdsmen.
“Setting up ranches involves drilling of borehole, construction of abattoir, veterinary clinics, schools for the children of the nomads as well as provision of electricity and adequate land within the ranch for grazing,’’ he said.
The law was enacted on May 22 but its implementation had been delayed to Nov.1 to enable herdsmen to have ample time to acquire lands and build ranches.
The law seeks the establishment of ranches and outlaws open range grazing of livestock.
It also seeks to protect people’s lives and livestock by criminalising cattle rustling.