President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday visited Benue, saying he was ‘surprised’ that the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, disobeyed his directives to stay in Benue until the bloodletting between farmers and herdsmen was resolved.
Mr. Buhari also said his government is worried about the incessant attacks on Benue’s rural communities and vowed to end the menace “very soon”.
The president had in the wake of public outcry that greeted the murder of over 70 persons by suspected herdsmen instructed the IGP to relocate to the state until the carnage was contained.
The police boss had reportedly spent less than 24 hours in the state before leaving. That action sparked from Nigerians even as the presidency failed to reprimand him.
Mr. Buhari met with farmers, herdsmen, government officials and other stakeholders in Makurdi as part of his visits to troubled states. He however, denied insinuations that he was not interested in what was happening to Benue State.
“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 the insecurity in some states was a major concern to his government, and that concerted efforts were being made to restore normalcy to every part of the country.
Mr. Buhari said he was surprised that the IGP did not spend 24 hours in Benue when he directed him to relocate to the state and remain there till peace was restored.
“I am getting to know this in this meeting. I am quite surprised,” he said.
He, however, said the meeting was not the best place to expose the inefficiency of his appointees. He appealed to Benue people to exercise restraint and live in peace with their neighbours.
Why the president did not know that IGP Idris disobeyed his order remained unclear. PREMIUM TIMES had on February 1 published an exclusive report detailing how the police boss failed to relocate to Benue as directed by Mr. Buhari [READ THAT REPORT HERE]
But in his speech on Monday, Mr. Buhari appealed to the people to pay more attention to farming, especially rice cultivation. He said rice importation had dropped by 90 per cent since some states embarked on massive production of the commodity.
Arrest Miyetti Allah
Speaking earlier, Governor Samuel Ortom appealed to the president to upgrade the ongoing military exercise in the state tagged “Ayem Akpatema”, to a wider operation to effectively curb herdsmen attacks.
“If the exercise is upgraded to a wider operation, it will assist greatly in ending the incessant attacks and senseless killings by herdsmen,” he said
He urged Benue people to learn to live in peace with other people.
Mr. Ortom said many states were currently involved in massive cultivation of rice, and urged his people to join the trend.
The governor reiterated his call for the arrest of the leadership of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, alleging that the body was responsible for the killings in Benue.
Mr. Ortom maintained that ranching was the best option for cattle breeding in Nigeria, and advised herdsmen to embrace it so as to minimise clashes caused by open grazing.
He also called on the federal government to take over the management of the Benue University Teaching Hospital, College of Education, Katsina-Ala and Benue Polytechnic, Ugbokolo.
Shetima Mohammed, a representative of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Benue Chapter, however, denied responsibility for the Benue attacks.
“Our association is a peace-loving one and the exact opposite of what is being portrayed,” he said.
Amnesty International Condemns Rann Attack As Sattelite Images Show Damage
Amnesty International has condemned the attack by Boko Haram terrorists on Rann, a town in Borno State.
The organisation condemned the attack in a statement issued on Friday by its Media Manager in Nigeria, Isa Sanusi, saying that new satellite images showed the devastating aftermath.
According to Amnesty International, more than 9,000 people were displaced from the town which hosts thousands of people already displaced by the Boko Haram crisis.
It also said the attack resulted in large areas being burnt in the west and south of Rann, with more than 100 structures destroyed or heavily damaged by fire – a situation it described as a despicable disdain for life and one that may constitute a war crime.
It, therefore, urged the Nigerian Government to provide immediate humanitarian support for the displaced persons.
“Amnesty International condemns Boko Haram’s despicable disdain for life. This attack clearly targeted civilians and, therefore, may constitute a war crime. The organisation appeals to the Nigerian authorities to provide immediate humanitarian assistance to the thousands of people who have been displaced,” Osai Ojigho, the Director Amnesty International Nigeria was quoted as saying.
“What is happening in Rann shows how vulnerable internally displaced persons are in Nigeria and the need to do more to protect them.”
“Since Monday night’s attack people have been fleeing across the border to Cameroon in their thousands and with every day that passes their condition is becoming more and more desperate. Rann is now almost empty as deadly attacks by Boko Haram have made people too afraid to stay,” said Osai Ojigho.
“The authorities on both sides of the border must provide the supplies and safety that these people require. The Cameroonian authorities must also desist from forcing people to return until conditions are safe and they choose to do so voluntarily,” he added.
Badeh to be Buried on January 23
Alex Badeh, former chief of defence staff (CDS), will be buried on January 23 at the national military cemetery in Abuja.
According to a statement by John Agim, acting director of defence information, the remains of late CDS will be committed to mother earth at 12:30pm after a Church Service.
Agim said the service will take place at the Nigerian air force base, Protestant Church, Bill Clinton drive airport road at 10 am.
He added that there would also be a service of song on Sunday by 5pm at the air force Base, Protestant Church, Bill Clinton drive.
Badeh, who served as CDS under ex-president Goodluck Jonathan, was shot dead on December 18, 2018, by unknown gunmen, on Keffi-Abuja highway, while returning from his farm.
CAN Leader Flays Attack on APC Governorship Candidate In Wukari, Says Move Is Anti Christian.
A frontline Christian youth leader, Engineer Daniel Kadzai, has condemned the reported attack on the All Progressive Congress (APC) governorship candidate, Alhaji Sani Abubakar Danladi at Wukari yesterday. Kadzai, former YouthCAN national chairman told KWARARAFA REPORTERS that the attack is against anything Christians hold dear.
Kadzai said the attack should not be misconstrued to mean Christians do not want a Muslim candidate to become governor of Taraba, stressing that the incident is purely the handiwork of political thugs who do not represent Christian values. Kadzai said the attack was not contrived in a church.
Kadzai said Christians respect human rights and the political aspirations of Muslims and other faiths. Speaking at a Press conference in Abuja, Kadzai, who is President, Coalition of Christian Groups for Good Governance In Nigeria and Diaspora (COCGOG) and also Chairman, Congress of Northern Nigeria Christians (CNNC) FCT Chapter Abuja, Nigeria, said the church must not be dragged into partisan matters, noting that no political party has been adopted by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
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