Benue crisis: IGP blames Governor Ortom

Posted by Ismail Mudashir | 3 February 2018 | 1,977 times

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•IGP Ibrahim Idris

The Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, yesterday accused the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, of causing the lingering clashes between farmers and herdsmen in Benue and Nasarawa states. 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 and environs when he appeared before the committee in response to the Senate’s summon.

The Senate had given the IGP a 14-day ultimatum to arrest and prosecute perpetrators of the killings in Benue. Following his inability to make the arrests and give updates on the issue, the Senate earlier this week summoned him to explain.

At the beginning of yesterday’s meeting, the IGP tried to give brief details of his visit to the affected local governments in Benue. Journalists were then excused from the room as it held behind closed doors. But sources at the meeting, said the IGP identified the implementation of the anti-open grazing law and the arming of Tiv militia as causes of the crisis.

“Also worthy of mention is the public display of corpses, coupled with unguarded and inciting speeches by the Benue State governor before and during the mass burial of the victims of the crisis. These utterances renewed tension leading to youths of Tiv ethnic group unleashing violent attacks on residents of Makurdi.” He however told the lawmakers that 145 suspects had been arrested, out of which 124 had been charged to court while 21 were still under investigation.

Idris said the allegation by Governor Ortom that armed militia were being camped in Tunga, Awe Local Government Area of Nasarawa State to unleash mayhem on Benue people was untrue. “Because I visited Tunga during my assessment tour of the location,” he said.

Daily Trust gathered that the police boss, at the end of his presentation, recommended that Governor Ortom should re-visit the Anti-Open Grazing, and Establishment of Ranches Law of the state with the aim of providing ranches with gradual implementation.

Idris also called for the re-establishment or re-identifying known cattle routes that hitherto existed. He called for the immediate disbandment and disarming of the livestock guards, Shitile Tiv militias, and any other militia group in order to forestall prohibited firearms in the hands of unauthorised persons.

Idris appealed to the state government, relevant stakeholders as well as the citizens to engage in dialogue for peaceful coexistence in the state.

At the opening session of the meeting, the chairman of the committee, Senator Abu Ibrahim (APC, Katsina) said it was sequel to the Senate resolution on the 14-day ultimatum given to the IGP to arrest the killers. Immediately after the opening session, Senator Ibrahim excused newsmen from the meeting, saying the report of their findings would be presented to the Senate on Tuesday.

The IGP at the opening session said he spent eight days in Benue, in line with the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari. Senators who attended the meeting include Shehu Sani, Emmanuel Paulker, Isa Hamma Misau, Suleiman Adokwe, Abdullahi Gumel and Umaru Kurfi.

When Daily Trust contacted CSP Jimoh Moshood, the Force PRO said he could not comment, because he is not privy to the details of what happened at the closed-door meeting. (Daily Trust)

Source: News Express

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