Benue: Herdsmen Have Killed 2000 People
From Msughshima Andrew, Makurdi
Not less than 2000 people have been killed in Benue State with properties valued in billions of Naira destroyed by marauding Fulani herdsmen between 2013 and the early part of 2018.
This is even as Governor Samuel Ortom has called for the removal of the Inspector General of Police, IGP Mr. Ibrahim Idris for his failure to arrest and prosecute the perpetrators of these “heinous” crimes.
Breiefing newsmen in Makurdi today, the State Commissioner for Information, Lawrence Onoja Jnr. said the figure represents the official recorded number of people killed in the state within the period noting that other deaths were not recorded .
Onoja who expressed concern at the recent security situation in the state regretted that authorities have failed to arrest the leadership of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore who issued the threats and had fulfilled their pledge to launch offensive on Benue communities.
“The leaders of Miyeti Allah Kautal Hore have neither been arrested nor were they invited for questioning, rather different strategies have been devised by some of those saddled with the responsibility of protecting lives and property to divert attention from the real issues”.
He cited media statements credited to the Minister of defence and the IGP over the Benue killings saying such statements coming from 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 country.
“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 on our hands today in the country”.
It would be recalled that the Senate recently gave the IGP two weeks ultimatum to arrest and bring to book perpetrators of the New Year attacks on Benue community which he has failed to do until now.
“I insist that Ibrahim Idris, by his comments has demonstrated his incompetence as a Police chief and “we have lost confidence and trust in him since clearly 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 disposess our people of their ancestral land by violent means”.
“We call on the Federal Government to immediately relieve Ibrahim Idris from his position as the Police 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 have elapsed without any meaningful arrests of the culprits but has resorted to unprofessionally trading blames rather than confronting the problem without fear or favour”.
He also recalled the the president had ordered the IGP to relocate to Benue in the wake of the new year day killings to restore peace and order saying that available records show that the police chief was sighted in the state for just a day or two after which he relocated to Nasarawa state.
“It is obvious that the Police Boss does not accord any urgency and seriousness in arresting the perpetrators of the mass murder of our people and his body language may have embolden these militia herdsmen to further lay false claim of ownership to the Benue Valley through the so called right of conquest”.
The Information Commissioner insisted that the State Government will neither stop speaking out on the injustices done to Benue nor suspend the Anti-Open Grazing and Establishment of Ranches Law for any reason and urged the police and other security agencies to rise up to their responsibilities by enforcing the law.