Benue govt doubts IGP’s sincerity to stop killings, bring killer herdsmen to justice

*Idris, Ortom

The Benue State government has passed a vote of no confidence on the inspector general of police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris and other security agencies in the country to put an end to killings by armed herdsmen in the state and bring the perpetrators of the act to justice.

Addressing journalists in Makurdi yesterday, the state commissioner of information and orientation, Lawrence Onoja Jnr said the IGPs initial description of the “pre-planned Benue killings by herdsmen on January 1 and 2, 2018, as mere communal clash” showed that Idris “does not accord any urgency or seriousness to arresting the perpetrators of the mass murder.”

He said the police chief Idris has “demonstrated his incompetence as a police chief and we have lost confidence and trust in him, since he has clearly shown that he either lacks the capacity to apprehend these armed Fulani militia or by his inaction and utterances portrayed himself as complicit in the grand plot to dispossess our people of their ancestral land by violent means.”

He regretted that the body language of the police boss might have “emboldened the herdsmen militia to further lay false claim of ownership to the Benue Valley through a so-called right of conquest.”

With reference to Idris’ call for a repeal of Benue State’s anti-open grazing law which the minister of defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, had claimed was responsible for the killings, Onoja alleged that such remarks are clear indications that highly-placed Nigerians are fueling the killings.

“The inspector-general of police, Ibrahim Idris, accused Governor Samuel Ortom of causing the lingering clashes between farmers and herdsmen in Benue and Nasarawa states. He is reported to have spoken at a closed-door meeting with members of the joint Senate Committee on Police Affairs and National Security and Intelligence on killings in Benue and environs when he appeared before the committee in response to the Senate’s summons.

“The IGP is said to have identified the implementation of the anti-open grazing law and the arming of Tiv militia as causes of the crisis.

“Such statements coming from some of the nation’s top security chiefs may have confirmed the fears expressed by many people that the herdsmen unleashing murderous attacks on Benue may have the backing of some highly-placed individuals within the security apparatus of the state.

“When those who are entrusted with the sensitive task of protecting lives and property of innocent Nigerians resort to placing unjustified blame on the good intentions of Benue State government to promote peace and security, then such people have unknowingly or knowingly become part of the problem we have on our hands today in the country.

“When the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore rose against the grazing law and threatened to invade the state, Governor Samuel Ortom, the Benue State House of Assembly, and leaders of all the socio-cultural organizations in the state petitioned the Presidency and all the relevant security agencies in the country. No action was taken by those saddled with the responsibility to protect lives and property at the national level.

“The state government also recalled that IGP Ibrahim Idris was ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari to relocate to Benue State in the wake of the New Year Day 2018 killings in the state to restore peace and order but available records show that the police chief was sighted in the state for just a day or so and then left immediately.

“The police IGP’s initial casual description of the pre-planned Benue killings by Fulani herdsmen on the 1st and 2nd of January, 2018 as a mere ‘communal clash’ has clearly shown that the Police boss does not accord any urgency and seriousness to arresting the perpetrators of the mass murder of our people and his body language may have emboldened these herdsmen militia to further lay false claim of ownership to the Benue Valley through a so-called right of conquest.

“We reiterate that until the masterminds and sponsors of the killings in Benue State are arrested, we will not trust or have confidence in the IGP of Police,” said Onoja.

He warned the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) to stop calls for a repeal of the anti-open grazing law, vowing the legislation would remain.

“The Benue State government will not repeal or suspend this law for any reason. And we appeal to the police and other security agencies to enforce the law, which is their constitutional responsibility. However, if they continue to fail, with the help of God, we shall overcome this dark episode in our history,” he stressed.

Meanwhile, continued their onslaught in the state yesterday by launching fresh attacks in Waku village and a part of Gbajimba town, all in Guma local government area killing two persons, and destroying a farm house belonging to the state governor, Dr. Sanmuel Ortom.

The attacks occurred barely 24 hours after herdsmen invaded Yogbo, another community in the same local government area killing six people and torching properties and farmlands.

However, the attack on Yogbo was repelled by the Police, who chased the invaders out of the community.

Confirming the attack, the police commissioner, Mr. Fatai Owoseni and chairman of Guma local government area, Mr. Anthony Shawon, said the herdsmen, who were backed by militant gangs, stormed the communities in the afternoon.

“The herdsmen, backed by their militia, invaded Waku village this afternoon (yesterday) and killed two persons. Our fear is that if we are not careful, they might overrun the local government headquarters the way they are going” said




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