By Peter Duru
Makurdi—A Makurdi High Court presided over by Justice Austine Ityonyiman, yesterday, issued an interim order restraining the Inspector General of Police and Benue State Commissioner of Police from prohibiting or shutting down offices of Benue State Livestock Guards in any part of the state.
The court order also restrained the duo from preventing officers of the guards from performing their functions of implementing the state Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law 2017, pending the determination of the motion on notice before the court.
The order was sequel to a motion brought by the counsel of the state government, Mr. Douglas Pepe, praying the court to restrain the affected persons from acting outside the scope of their constitutional mandate.
Mr. Pepe had argued that “the Livestock Guard was a creation of law and an organisation carrying out legitimate functions as stipulated by the legislation establishing it.”
Ruling on the motion, Justice Ityonyiman granted the application pending the determination of the motion on notice.
He adjourned the case to November 23 for hearing of the motion.
Reacting to the court order, Benue State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Michael Gusa, said the administration believed in rule of law and due process, hence its decision to approach the court on the matter.
He expressed surprise that the Police, whose duty it was to help the government enforce laws, were seeking to proscribe an organisation legitimately established by the state government.