Suspected herdsmen have killed more than 1,500 people including farmers, policemen and soldiers in Benue State communities in 47 different attacks in the last three years, the state government has declared.
This is as the government has accused the Inspector- General of Police (IGP), Mr. Ibrahim Idris, of alleged complicity in the attacks and killings of innocent citizens of the state by the armed herdsmen. The state called on the Federal Government to immediately relieve Idris from his position.
The government cited failure of the police chief to apprehend the killer herdsmen, but resort to blame game as reasons for its position. Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr. Lawrence Onoja (Jnr) who disclosed this at a news briefing in Makurdi, the state capital, said the victims were killed 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.
Onoja said convoys of former governor of the state, Dr. Gabriel Suswam and immediate past Senate President, David Mark, were also attacked by the herdsmen at Umenger and Agatu respectively during their separate visits to the crisis prone areas.
According to him, the local inhabitants had lost properties worth over N100 billion to the attacks. Onoja expressed government’s dissatisfaction with the role played by security agencies deployed to flashpoints to help maintain peace. He accused the IGP for taking sides with the herdsmen while the killings continue unabated.
Rather, the state sought the support of the police and other security agencies to the sustainability of the law which, he said, has taken off successfully Onoja said: “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.
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 insisted that the arrest of the Miyetti Allah Kuatal Hore leadership was the only solution to the intractable crisis. Onoja, who flayed the IG’s comments that the state governor was arming militia, condemned the “lopsided arrests” carried out by the police.