Suspected Fulani herdsmen have killed more than 1, 500 farmers including policemen and soldiers in Benue State communities in 47 different attacks in the last three years, says the state government.
This is as the government has indicted the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, over his alleged complicity in the murderous attacks and killings of its innocent citizens of the state by the armed Fulani herdsmen and called on the federal government to immediately relieve him from his position.
The government cited failure of the police chief to apprehend the killer herdsmen to beat the two weeks ultimatum given him by the federal government on deployment to the state, but resort to blame game rather that confronting the problem without fear or favour as reasons for its position.
Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr. Lawrence Onoja (Jnr) who disclosed this at a news briefing in Makurdi said, the victims were killed within four years particularly between 2013 and 2017 in Agatu, Guma, Kwande, Katsina-Ala, Logo, Ogbadibo, Gwer West, Makurdi, Buruku, Gwer East and Ohimini local government areas of the state.
He said convoys of former governor of the state, Dr. Gabriel Suswam and immediate past Senate President, Senator David Mark were also attacked by the herdsmen at Umenger and Agatu respectively during their separate visits to the crisis prone areas for an on-the-spot assessment of the killings and damages done to local inhabitants with property worth over N100 billion lost to the attacks.
Mr. Onoja expressed government’s dissatisfaction with the role played security agencies deployed to flash points to help maintain peace and pointedly accused the Inspector General of Police for taking sides with the Fulani herdsmen while the killings continue unabated.
While describing comments credited to the police helmsman who had linked the killings in the state to the promulgation of the anti-open grazing law as well as a communal clash as unfortunate, Mr. Onoja said the state government is not ready to repeal or suspend the law for any reason and sought the support of the police and other security agencies to the sustainability of the law which he said has taken off successfully.
“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 backing of some highly placed individuals within the security apparatus of state”.
“When those who are entrusted with the sensitive task of protecting lives and property of innocent Nigerians resort to placing unjustified blames on the good intentions of the Benue state government to promote peace and security, then such people have unknowingly or knowingly become part of the problem we have in our hands today in the country”.
“We call on the federal government to immediately relieve Ibrahim Idris from his position as the IGP as he has failed woefully in his duties especially as the two weeks ultimatum given him by the Senate to apprehend the killer herdsmen has elapsed without any meaningful arrests of the culprits but has resorted to unprofessional trading blames rather than confronting the problem without fear or favour”.
He said the police boss was ordered by the President to relocate to Benue in the wake of the New Year killings, the police chief was sighted just a day in the state and has preferred to stay in Nasarawa State.
The Commissioner who flayed the IG’s comments that the state governor was arming militia, said his most brazen part of the conspiracy against Benue people was the “lopsided arrests” carried out, insisting that the arrest of the Miyetti Allah Kuatal Hore leadership was the only solution to the intractable crisis.