Nigerian Stakeholders want Benue Carnage Checked, Culprits Punished
Nigerian Police Boss, IGP Ibrahim idris
By Rasaq Bamidele
London, Jan 9, 2018 (AltAfrika)-Major stakeholders from the Southern and Middle Belt axis of Nigeria, have expressed dismay over the level of killings that have gone on in Benue State in the last few days, just as they expressed displeasure over the seeming official indifference in condemning and going after the perpetrators of the deadly crimes.
The stakeholders, under the umbrella of Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum also expressed sadness at the images of horror and wanton killings perpetrated by alleged killer herdsmen who went on a killing spree and are now granting press conferences justifying why they carried out such a barbaric act.
This was contained in a statement titled, “Stop the Benue carnage and let justice flow!” Jointly signed by, Mr Yinka Odumakin (South-west), Senator Bassey Henshaw (South-South), Professor C. Ogbu (South-East) and Mr Isuwa Dogo (Middle Belt).
The Forum leaders further expressed their embarrassed that the Inspector General of Police, who ordinarily should have gone after these criminals, has been making excuses for the murderers; against the call of his duty.
The IGP after meeting with President Buhari at the Villa, last Friday, according to the statement, made highly insensitive remarks by saying; “Obviously it is communal crisis, herdsmen are part of the community. They are Nigerians and are part of the community. Are they not?”,
“We consider the above remarks highly unbecoming of the Number One cop in Nigeria who should enforce the law against murderers. And it has shown clearly what the lopsided appointments into security forces can cause. A multi-ethnic society requires a reflection of its plurality in the leadership of its security apparatus so that the type of balance required can be provided at all times.
“We must also express our reservations about the deafening silence by the President about these killings; as we are yet to hear a word directly from him over these cold-blooded murders, which many have seen as reprisals over the outlawing of open-grazing of cattle in Benue State.
“These killings threaten the fragile unity of this country and the official handling of the fall-outs are proving worse than the very sinister act itself,” the statement warned.
As things stand, according to the Forum, the confidence of most sections of the county in the willingness of the Federal Government to protect them is badly shaken as the authority of the central government appears largely compromised.
“(So) In order to restore faith in the government and prevent a resort to self-help in the face of existential threats from killers, we demand the following:
“Immediate removal of the IGP and his replacement for having failed to effect the law against murders and justifying crimes. Immediate arrests of the killers and their sponsors. The Federal Government must disarm all herdsmen across the country immediately.
“An urgent commencement of the unbundling of the Police Structure so that states must have their own police to enforce laws made by their Houses of Assembly. The President should address the country on these incidents and announce concrete measures to assure citizens that his government has not abdicated the primary responsibility of protecting lives and property and the National Assembly should cut short its recess to address this national emergency,” the Forum demanded.
While calling on all statesmen and leaders across the country to speak up on this national disaster as silence is sinful, the Forum concluded that, “Our hearts go out to all grieving families as we pray the Almighty to wipe their tears even as we demand swift justice.”