The Benue state governor, Samuel Ortom on Saturday called on the Inspector General of Police, IGP Ibrahim Idris to resign his position for incompetence and for allegedly taking side with killer herdsmen and twisting the facts of the killings in the state.
The Governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase, while reacting in a statement to the alleged claim by the IGP that the killings in Benue were instigated by the state’s anti-grazing law, said the police boss has become the mouthpiece of the masterminds of the Benue killings.
“If truly the IGP said what was widely reported by the media, our conclusion is that his is a clear case of a man who is either on a mission to mislead the nation or is complicit in the attacks on Benue communities and the killing of many people by terror herdsmen,” he said.
Ortom pointed out that the fact that the police had not denied the reports indicates that the Inspector-General was accurately quoted. He described Idris’ claim as unfortunate, accusing him of dereliction of duty.
The statement reads, “Indeed it was this unrelenting spate of attacks that prompted the people of the state to seek a permanent solution to the incessant clashes between farmers and herders hence the law for the establishment of ranches as the best method of animal husbandry across the globe.
“The law which has constitutional backing followed due process with the requisite public hearings and inputs from various stakeholders.”
“The police authorities had ample opportunity to also make inputs while the process was ongoing. They, however, failed to do so”.
“The unfortunate claim by the IGP indicates that some of those saddled with the responsibility of protecting and property and maintaining law and order have abdicated their duty and become accomplices with those undermining the very existence of the country. This is unacceptable.
“The Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law of Benue State is certainly not the cause of the crisis as insinuated by the IGP. Mr Idris needs to be reminded that Fulani herdsmen attacked Benue State more than 50 times and killed scores of people before the law was enacted.
“The IGP should tell Nigerians if states like Adamawa, Zamfara, Kaduna, Nasarawa, Enugu, Edo, Plateau among others where armed herdsmen have killed hundreds of people also have anti-open grazing laws in place.
“It will be recalled that a few days after the killings took place and all fingers were pointed towards the direction of armed herdsmen, the IGP quickly rose in defence of the herdsmen and frankly tried to divert attention from the genocide being perpetrated by herdsmen with a comment that it was a ‘mere communal clash’. Did he not know that there was a law in place in Benue State when he made that first statement?
“With his latest demand that the ranching law of Benue be suspended, it is now clear where the loyalty and interest of the Inspector General of Police lies – certainly not with innocent Nigerians. He has now positioned himself not only as the mouthpiece of those who are killing Benue people but indeed as their shield. Little wonder herdsmen still proudly carry out sophisticated weapons and willfully terrorize innocent people in the state without being arrested”.
The governor’s chief press secretary also stated that Idris spent only a day in Benue, contrary to President Muhammadu Buhari’s order that he should relocate to the state.
“We wish to place it on record that contrary to the directive by President Muhammadu Buhari that the Inspector General of Police should relocate to Benue to ensure that the killings stop, the IGP spent only one day in Benue and left for a destination where only he could tell. No one has seen him in Benue since that day,” he said.
Akase stressed that Idris has failed to live up to his constitutional responsibility to protect lives and properties, consequently putting his competence into question.
“If the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Idris is not competent to help bring an end to the invasion and killing of innocent people in Benue and other states by herdsmen, the noble thing to do is to resign instead of twisting facts to suit his objective,” he said.