The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, has been blamed by President Muhammadu Buhari as being the reason killings in Benue State perpetrated by suspected Fulani herdsmen has continued to worsen.
According to Buhari, IGP Idris’ disobedience in not following the instructions he handed to him was what worsened the problem in Benue.
He was refuting the allegations by many people of the state and some Nigerians that he had abandoned the people.
He said that contrary to that assumption, that he had the people of Benue State at heart and will not abandon them.
He stated this when he finally visited Benue to condole with the people, his first since attacks by herdsmen, since the beginning of the year had left over a hundred innocent citizens, mostly women and children dead.
“The problem in Benue started worsening because the IGP refused to follow my instruction. It is wrong to think I have abandoned the people of Benue. I still have you at heart.
“I thank the governor and the people of the state for receiving me. We have deployed security agencies to make sure the clashes between farmers and herdsmen end as soon as possible.”
Buhari expressed surprise at the meeting, that the IGP did not obey the instruction handed down in the wake of the crises to relocate to Benue.
When told about this, he said he was not aware, and that he only just found out.
The president had ordered Idris to relocate to Benue shortly after the January 1 killings.
“But I did not know that the IG did not stay in the state. I am getting to know this at this meeting. I am quite surprised,” he said.
While further stating that the meeting was not the right place to expose the inefficiency of his appointee, Buhari called on farmers and herdsmen to coexist peacefully in the state.
Speaking earlier, the state’s governor, Samuel Ortom had intimated the President that the state had lost many lives after the mass burial of 73 victims of the New Year attack.
“Sixty-five more people have been killed after the mass burial of 73 persons; 26 more were killed in Okpokwu with over 5,000 displaced in Mbatoho community.
“As of now, 170,000 people live in IDP camps across the state. Sixty per cent of IDPs are school children who should be in school.
“Yesterday (Sunday), two police officers were killed in Guma. Our appeal is that the Federal Government should compensate the people who have been displaced.”
Speaking on the ongoing military operation in the state, Ortom said, “We hope the Ayem Akpatuma can be upgraded from an exercise to an operation because the herdsmen have taken over the villages and our food has become feed for their cattle”.
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