Inspector General of police, Idris Ibrahim, on Saturday drew the ire of the Benue State Government over his Friday testimony in the Senate during which he blamed the herdsmen killings on the anti- open grazing laws in some states.
The government described Ibrahim’s comment as shameful and called for his immediate resignation having shown that he “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.”
“The unfortunate claim by the IGP indicates that some of those saddled with the responsibility of protecting lives and property as well as maintaining law and order have abdicated their duty and become accomplices with those undermining the very existence of the country,” it said in a statement by Mr. Terver Akase, Chief Press Secretary to Governor Samuel Ortom.
It said that contrary to the IG’s description of the law as the cause of the killings, Fulani herdsmen attacked Benue State more than 50 times and killed scores of people before the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law was enacted in the state.
“The law could therefore not have been the cause of the crisis,” it declared and challenged him to “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.”
Continuing, it said: “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 frantically 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 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.
“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.
“Nigerians must know that contrary to the statement credited to the IGP, herdsmen are still killing people in Benue.
“It will therefore be wrong to say that enough security has been provided.
“At the last count after the mass burial of 73 victims of the attacks, about ten people have been killed in Guma Local Government Area, one killed in Logo and many more are receiving treatment in the hospital having suffered varying degrees of injuries with property worth millions of naira destroyed.
“Benue now has nearly 100, 000 displaced persons in seven camps established by the state government. We therefore find IG Ibrahim Idris’ statement as mockery and a shameful dance on the graves of those killed in the state by herdsmen.
“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.”