President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday summoned the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, over the recent killings in Benue State.
Recall that suspected herdsmen killed over 30 persons in Guma community in Benue State during the week.
The killings sparked off protest which crippled socio-economic activities in Makurdi, the state capital.
Speaking to State House correspondents yesterday after meeting the president at the Presidential Villa, the IGP said the police were putting their heads together to address the crisis in the state.
Disclosing that the president had directed him to tighten security across the country, the IGP said more units of police would be deployed in Benue to ensure protection of lives and property of the citizens.
The following conversation ensued between State House correspondents and the IGP.
What was the meeting with Mr. President about?
You know any time we meet Mr. President you know the area of discussion is how to have effective security of the nation.
What are you doing about Benue State?
You know I deployed my DIG there yesterday and you know we have different stages of police. You have the AIG in Benue, Commissioner of Police in Benue and all of them are putting their heads together to see how to address this issue of community problems in Benue.
There seems to be a breakdown of law and order in different parts of the country at the same time – Rivers, Benue, Kaduna, ….
Obviously I think Nigeria is well secured. You have to be frank with us.
Why do you think herdsmen’s killings are escalating in parts of the country?
Like I said, you know we have different levels of police in this country. We have the Commissioner of Police in Benue, the AIG of Police in Benue, and yesterday I deployed my DIG operations there and definitely we are doing all we can to see we maintain law and order in all parts of the country.
The police have been accused of being reactionary rather than proactive to stop the killings, how do you react?
Let’s use the example of Benue; you know most of these states where you have several languages, you know there is an issue of communal misunderstanding. I think what we should be praying for is for Nigerians to learn to live in peace with each other. I think it is very important.
What did the president say after briefing him, was he happy with you or did he give you a new charge?
Of course every time we meet with the president, he gives a charge. He said that we should go and take care and ensure that we tighten our security.
Any new measures you are deploying soon?
There are so many measures. For instance in Benue, we are going to deploy more units to support the efforts the police are making in the state to ensure we have adequate protection for the men and communities and members.
Are you assuring Nigerians that this will not repeat itself?
Of course we are assuring them that this will not repeat itself.
Is the country under-policed?
I cannot say Nigeria is under-policed.
Maybe the question should be is the police overwhelmed?
We cannot be overwhelmed.
Did you say that the Benue killing is communal crisis? We all know it is herdsmen killing farmers.
Obviously it is communal crisis. Herdsmen are part of the community. They are Nigerians and are part of the community. Are they not?
On the arrest of an online publisher by SARS; was it on your orders because he published something against you?
Anyway I don’t need to send anybody but whenever you commit an offense it is our duty to ensure that we respond.
40,000 Displaced In Benue Attacks – SEM
The Benue State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) has said over 40,000 persons had been displaced following the recent gunmen attack in Guma and Logo Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state.
The Executive Secretary of SEMA, Mr Emmanuel Shior, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Makurdi on Friday that the agency had opened four camps for the displaced persons in the affected areas.
Shior disclosed that Gov. Samuel Ortom had been extremely worried over the plight of the people.
“As we speak over 40,000 persons have so far been displaced as a result of the attacks on our people in Guma and Logo LGAs. (NAN)
6 Arraigned Over Benue Killings
Six Fulani herdsmen who were arrested in connection with the invasion of two local government areas of Benue State and another one who was arrested for grazing in Governor Samuel Ortom’s farm have been arraigned before a Makurdi Chief Magistrates’ Court of Isaac Ajim.
The six accused persons who were arraigned for criminal conspiracy, mischief by fire, anti open grazing, causing crevices hurt with dangerous weapons and culpable homicide include Ibrahim Saleh, Jibrin Adamu, Magaji Yau, Ibrahim Abubakar, Useni Bala, Sabin Yau while Ibrahim Mallam was also arraigned for grazing on Ortom’s farm along Naka Road in Makurdi.
According to the First Information Report (FIR), on December 31, 2017 at about 11:50pm, Menga Mgande of Akor village in Guma local government area reported to the police at Gbajmba that on the same date at about 3:pm, a group of Fulani herdsmen attacked their village, shooting sporadically and in the process, killed 19 persons and severely injured others with deep cuts all over their bodies.
Police investigation further into the matter revealed that the suspects had destroyed houses, crops and burnt down many buildings in the affected areas.
The accused were also arraigned for openly rearing their cows within farmlands at Akor village in Guma Local Government Area thus contravening section 97, 329, 333 and 222 of the penal code law of Benue State and section 19(2)(3) of the open grazing prohibition and ranches establishment law of Benue State 2017.
When the case came up, no plea was taken for want of jurisdiction but prosecution counsel, Edward Imoh, asked for another date.
The Chief Magistrate, Isaac Ajim, who noted that the court could not grant the accused persons bail because the charges against them were very grave adjourned the case till March 5, 2018 for further mention and ordered the suspects to be remanded at the Federal Prison in Makurdi.
Reacting shortly after the court proceeding, counsel to the accused, Almustapha Elegu, said he did not raise any objection to the proceeding because there was no basis for it at the moment as at the appropriate time, the case would be moved to the High Court.
IGP Moves To Ensure Full Enforcement, Compliance With Anti Open Grazing Law
The Inspector General of Police has said the command is ready to ensure the total compliance of the Anti Open Grazing law and warned violators of the law to desist henceforth or face the full wrath of the law.
The IG who was represented by the DIG, operations Joshar Habila, disclosed that he was in the state to go round the affected areas and assess the current situation on ground and also ensure adequate security of lives and property
He said, “We are working jointly with other security agencies to build confidence in the mind of residents and reassured them of their being protected, more security operatives will be deployed in the state in random with the one already on ground and we have also agreed to increase our logistics as our helicopters are already flying to the flash point areas to ensure safety of the communities.”
He said the command was working tirelessly with the government to strengthen the communication apparatus of the command for effective outreach and he appealed to the public to always volunteer information to the security operatives to help them work better.
Act Decisively On Herdsmen, CAN Tells FG
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has condemned without reservation herdsmen attacks in Benue and Kaduna states, calling on the federal government to halt the menace.
In a statement signed by its president, Samson Ayokunle, the association said the trend had reached the ‘breaking point of its tolerance level’ and urged immediate action to stop the killings.
Ayokunle alleged that herdsmen had killed more people than the Boko Haram sect and almost displaced more people than them.
He said that the association was now reaching a breaking point in its patience and tolerance of what he described as wicked impunity.
Ayokunle demanded to know why the intelligence units of all security apparatus failed and had not been able to discover the sources of supply of ammunition to Fulani herdsmen.
Ortom Suspends Political Activities
Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has said that he is withdrawing from all political activities until the problem of herdsmen invasion of the Benue valley is over.
Ortom said, “I have decided to withdraw from every political activities until this problem is over. I cannot be a leader over dead people. 2019 is in God’s hand. This time, there is every need for synergy, cooperation and unity among every Benue people across party lines.”
The governor who stated this during the emergency stakeholders meeting held at the new banquet hall of the Government House Makurdi also urged all Benue sons and daughters to team up with his administration irrespective of their tribe, religion and political affiliation, to bring to an end the incessant invasion of Benue communities and mindless killings of Benue people by herdsmen.
While noting that the issue at hand is beyond party politics, he said for the first time in many months, he had to personally call former Governor Gabriel Suswam and former Senate President David Mark to invite them for the emergency stakeholders meeting.
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