“You swiftly directed the IGP to Benue. But the IGP did not do the work you sent him. He stayed for less than 24 hours in Benue and relocated to Nasarawa, and then said what he saw was a mere communal clash. A few days later, his men were killed too,” a former military governor, General Atom Kpera (rtd), told the president”
This is one of the views a stakeholder expressed during interactive section with president Mohammadu Buhari with Benue stakeholders yesterday.
Few months after he directed Inspector General of Police Ibrahim Idris (IGP) to relocate to Benue State and stop killings by herdsmen, President Mohammadu Buhari disappointedly told stakeholders that it was only yesterday that he discovered that the inspector general of police didn’t hearken to his directives on relocation order
“I cannot overlook the killings in Benue or any other part of Nigeria. I cannot do that. I am genuinely worried about the attacks in Benue and we are doing everything to end them,” he said.
He said that the insecurity in some states was a major concern to his government, adding that concerted efforts were being made to restore normalcy to every part of the country.
Buhari said that he was surprised at the revelation that the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, did not spend 24 hours in Benue when he directed him to relocate to the state and remain there till peace was restored.
But the revelation that Idris spent just a day in Benue and left for Nasarawa State has never been lost on the public, reinforcing insinuations that a cabal has been shielding the president from reality.
“It is only now that I am hearing this. But I know that I sent him here,” Buhari told his shocked audience at the Benue People’s House in Makurdi.
The president was in the capital city, as part of a string of visits to states affected by security crises, especially attacks on farmers by herdsmen.
“I know you have other sources of intelligence. Please, have a second thought on what the IGP told you. We were happy when you sent the military’s Exercise Ayem Akpatema. We thought their coming would relieve us of our pains and get our killers. But the killings have persisted,” Kpera added.
Buhari, however, told the people there was no way he could “deliberately overlook” the security problem in the state or in any other part of the country. “So, please, try to convince your constituencies that through the processes of law enforcement agents, the police, the Department of State Service, and the military, I am doing my best,” he assured stakeholders.
He called for restraint, warning that long after his administration and that of Governor Samuel Ortom have ceased, the relationship between cattle herders and farmers in Benue State would continue. This, according to him, “is the reality of the situation.”
Accompanying the president to the stakeholders’ meeting were National Security Adviser General Babagana Mongunu (rtd); Chief of Defence Staff General Gabriel Olonishakin; Minister of Defence General Mansur Dan Ali (rtd); Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas; Chief of Air Staff Sadiq Ibrahim; Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed; Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Audu Ogbe; and Director General of the Department of State Service Lawal Daura.
Pleading with the Federal Government to compensate persons displaced by the attacks, Ortom noted: “On January 11, we buried 73 persons. And 65 more have been killed since then, while 26 more were killed in Okpokwu Local Government Area, with over 5000 displaced in Mbatoho community.
“As it is now, 170,000 people are living in displaced camps across the state and 60 percent of them are school children. Also, yesterday, two police officers were killed in Guma.”
He called on the president to expand the scope of the military’s operation in the state and sought the arrest and prosecution of the leadership of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, widely accused of being behind the killings.