The Inspector-General of Police (IG), Ibrahim Idris, has deployed 15 additional police units, special forces, technical and intelligence teams to contain further attacks in Benue State.
This came as the state gvernment yesterday said it was no longer confident in the ability of the police led by Idris to provide protection for the people of the state.
The state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Fatai Owoseni, while addressing journalists yesterday in Makurdi, said: ”The inspector-general is seriously committed to bringing to an end the killings in the state and the country.
“It is that commitment that informed the reinforcement of our command continuously on daily basis to nip in the bud the act of criminality and killings in the state.
“The IG has continued to support us. As of today 15 units squadrons from 15 states have been deployed to support the existing officers on ground.
“We also received the deployment of Police Special Forces, Intelligence and Technical teams in the state,” Owoseni said.
He said the command had rescued a Non- Commissioned Officer (NCO) who got missing during the February attack in Yogbo community in Guma Local Government Area in the battle between police and suspected herdsmen.
He said the rescued “officer was unhurt, his weapon was safe, he was in high spirit and has rejoined his colleagues in the ongoing operations in Guma.”
The commissioner said security operatives were able to flush out the mercenaries from the community and hoped to sustain the success recorded.
He stressed that relative peace had been restored in Yogbo village, adding that the command had deployed forces in “Kwande, Agatu, Gboko, Makurdi, Buruku, Katsina-Ala, Gwer West and Vandeikya local government areas for proactive measures.”
However, the state government has disclosed that it was longer confident in the ability of the IG to provide protection for the people of the state.
The state Commissioner of Information and Orientation, Lawrence Onoja Jr, who made this known at a press briefing in Makurdi, particularly called on federal government to immediately relieve IG from his position, having failed woefully in his duties especially since the two weeks ultimatum given to him by the Nigeria Senate to apprehend the killer herdsmen had elapsed without any meaningful arrests of the culprits.
Onoja stated that the IG has resorted to unprofessionally trading blame rather than confronting the problem without fear or favour.
He maintained that it was very sad that the IG reportedly accused Governor Samuel Ortom of causing the lingering clashes between farmers and herdsmen in Benue and Nasarawa States when he spoke at a closed-door meeting with members of the Joint Senate Committee on Police Affairs and National Security and Intelligence on the killings in Benue State and its environs.
“The IG is said to have identified the implementation of the anti-open grazing law and the arming of Tiv militia as causes of the crisis. He also went to say that the public display of corpses, coupled with unguarded and inciting speeches by the Benue State governor before and during the mass burial of 73 persons were the reason why youths of Tiv ethnic group unleashed violent attacks on residents of Makurdi,” the reports stressed.
“Idris said the allegation by Ortom that armed militia were being camped in Tunga, Awe Local Government Area of Nasarawa State to unleash mayhem on Benue people was untrue and recommended that the governor should suspend the Anti-Open Grazing, and Establishment of Ranches Law of the state with the aim of providing ranches with gradual implementation.
‘’All these comments from someone who is supposed to be an impartial head of the Nigeria Police Force who is supposed to enforce the laws of the land are rather unfortunate and an indication of complicity,’’ Onoja stated.
He disclosed that the incessant and unrelenting attacks on communities across the state led to the enactment of the law as a permanent solution rather than the law triggering the attacks, stressing that the implementation of the law took off smoothly for two months with the arrests and prosecution of those who contravened it until the sponsored attacks came on the scene.
The commissioner insisted that the attackers did not bring cattle to graze in the state, but guns to kill, displace and occupy the entire Benue.
According to him, there could be no greater mischief than the IG stating that the governor was arming a Tiv militia and making every effort to justify the claim even with the fabricated arrest of some people in Taraba State and the planting of AK 47 on them.
Meanwhile, the police command in Nasarawa State has said it has deployed over 4,000 officers and men to ensure a hitch-free visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to the state on February 6.
The Commissioner of Police, Mr Bello Ahmed, told yesterday in Lafia that the command had put up a robust security arrangement with sister agencies to ensure a successful visit of the president to the state.
He said about 3,000 officers of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and other security agencies would be working in synergy with the police.
Ahmed said that security personnel would be positioned in strategic locations, adding that there would be road diversions along the route where the president would inaugurate some projects.
“I appeal to members of the public to be law abiding as they come out massively to welcome the president to the state.
“I also urge you to cooperate with the security agencies as they discharge their duties,’’ Ahmed said.
President Buhari is during the visit expected to inaugurate some projects embarked upon by the state government which include; the Comprehensive Special School for the Physically Challenged in Lafia and headquarters of the State Fire Service, also in Lafia.
Other projects billed for inauguration are: Comprehensive Primary Healthcare Centre in Kwandere near Lafia, Muhammadu Buhari International Market, Karu, and the flag-off of construction of cargo airport in Lafia.