Buhari: I’m sur­prised IG didn’t stay in Benue as I or­dered

Two cops killed in Guma on Sun­day, Or­tom tells Buhari

The Punch - - FRONT PAGE -

Niyi Ode­bode, John Alechenu, Olu­sola Fabiyi, Olalekan Ade­tayo, Olal­eye Aluko and John Charles

PRES­I­DENT Muham­madu Buhari on Mon­day said he was not aware that the In­spec­tor Gen­eral of Po­lice, Ibrahim Idris, ig­nored his in­struc­tion to re­lo­cate to Benue State dur­ing the cri­sis in the state.

He stated this at a meet­ing with stake­hold­ers in Makurdi, dur­ing his visit to Benue State.

Shortly af­ter 73 per­sons were killed in Jan­uary fol­low­ing clashes be­tween farm­ers and herds­men, Buhari had asked Idris to re­lo­cate to Benue.

But dur­ing the meet­ing with stake­hold­ers, Buhari was told that Idris did not spend up to 24 hours in the state.

Buhari, who ex­pressed shock, ex­plained that he did the need­ful by or­der­ing the IG to re­lo­cate to the state.

“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.

He, how­ever, stated that the meet­ing was not the best place to ex­pose the in­ef­fi­ciency of his ap­pointee.

Buhari told the meet­ing that he was do­ing his best to tackle in­se­cu­rity in the land.

He ex­pressed the hope that farm­ers and herds­men would con­tinue to co­ex­ist in the state, urg­ing res­i­dents to learn to live to­gether peace­fully.

Buhari, how­ever, de­nounced the in­sin­u­a­tion that he aban­doned the peo­ple of the state at their try­ing pe­ri­ods, say­ing, “I have friends here; there is no way I can de­lib­er­ately over­look what is hap­pen­ing here and other parts of the coun­try.

“Let me ap­peal to our peo­ple to ap­ply more re­straints. The re­la­tion­ship be­tween farm­ers and herders will con­tinue; it be­hoves us to keep en­cour­ag­ing our­selves to live to­gether peace­fully.”

He said his ad­min­is­tra­tion had cut down on im­por­ta­tion of rice by 90 per cent be­cause many states of the fed­er­a­tion were cul­ti­vat­ing rice in large quan­tity.

Buhari stated fur­ther that while he had taken note of what all stake­hold­ers had said, he would not make any prom­ise.

Ear­lier, 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.”

Or­tom de­nied the re­port that the state gov­ern­ment owned mili­tia, say­ing, “Ghana is the one that is known to own a mili­tia and he has been de­clared wanted with N50m bounty placed on him.

“We hope the Ayem Ak­pa­tuma (an on­go­ing mil­i­tary op­er­a­tion in the state) 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. If Ayem is up­graded, Ghana will be tracked down.”

Or­tom also ap­pealed to the Pres­i­dent to or­der the im­me­di­ate ar­rest and prose­cu­tion of lead­ers of Miyetti Al­lah Kau­tal Hore, who he ac­cused of the killings.

But the rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Miyetti Al­lah, Benue chap­ter, Shet­tima Mo­hammed, de­nied re­spon­si­bil­ity for the Benue at­tacks.

He said the as­so­ci­a­tion was peace-lov­ing un­like its pub­lic pre­sen­ta­tion by gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials.

The Chair­man, Benue State Tra­di­tional Coun­cil, Tor Tiv, Prof. Ay­atse, ap­pealed to the Pres­i­dent to sup­port the anti-open graz­ing law of the state.

A sec­ond re­pub­lic min­is­ter of steel, Paul Unongo, told the Pres­i­dent to do some­thing about the ac­tiv­i­ties of killer herds­men.

“If you don’t do some­thing now, you will dis­cover that you will end up hav­ing a ter­ror­ist coun­try. The gov­er­nor is not your en­emy. He is very com­pe­tent and loyal to you.”

The state Chair­man of the state Chris­tian As­so­ci­a­tion of Nige­ria, Akpen Leva, de­manded com­pen­sa­tion to re­build about 500 churches burnt dur­ing herds­men at­tacks in the state.

How­ever, in a state­ment by his Spe­cial Ad­viser on Me­dia and Pub­lic­ity, Mr. Femi Adesina, Buhari was re­ported to have told the stake­hold­ers in Benue that he rep­ri­manded the IG when the killings in Benue started.

He was quoted to have said he did not do that in the open as many would de­sire be­cause he was not in the habit of re­buk­ing his ap­pointees pub­licly.

“The Pres­i­dent dis­closed that he shared the IGP’S se­cu­rity re­port on the Benue cri­sis with Se­na­tors Ge­orge Akume and Barn­abas Ge­made from the state.

“He ap­pealed to lead­ers of var­i­ous groups in the state to con­vince their con­stituents that the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment is do­ing its best to end the re­cur­ring at­tacks in var­i­ous parts of the coun­try,” the state­ment read in part.

While thank­ing God for the good rain, the suc­cess­ful ef­forts of the Min­is­ter of Agri­cul­ture, Audu Og­beh, an in­di­gene of Benue State, the Pres­i­dent said his ad­min­is­tra­tion would con­tinue to em­power farm­ers with loans.

Ex­press­ing de­light that the agri­cul­tural pol­icy of his ad­min­is­tra­tion had led to 90 per cent re­duc­tion in rice im­por­ta­tion, he com­mended Ebonyi, La­gos, Kebbi, Ji­gawa and Benue states for “do­ing ex­tremely well.”

PDP, NCP, CSO be­rate Buhari over IGP

The Peo­ples Demo­cratic Party, the Cen­tre for the De­fence of Hu­man Rights and the Na­tional Con­science Party have be­rated Buhari over the IG’S re­fusal to re­lo­cate to Benue State.

The Na­tional Chair­man of the PDP, Prince Uche Se­con­dus, said Buhari was not in charge of the All Pro­gres­sives Congress gov­ern­ment.

Se­con­dus told one of our cor­re­spon­dents that be­cause the Pres­i­dent had been far from the peo­ple, the ca­bal in the Pres­i­dency had hi­jacked him.

He said, “Buhari is not in charge of any­thing. He does not have gen­uine peo­ple around him.

“How can a Pres­i­dent give a direc­tive and it is ig­nored? Yet he did not know. How would he know when he sur­rounds him­self with syco­phants?”

Also, the PDP in a state­ment by its Na­tional Pub­lic­ity Sec­re­tary, Kola Olog­bondiyan, noted that Buhari’s visit to Benue State came sev­eral months af­ter the mas­sacre of Nige­ri­ans.

It said that the visit was need­less, adding that it merely served as a bill­board of his (Buhari) ad­min­is­tra­tion’s gross in­sen­si­tiv­ity to the plight of Nige­ri­ans.

The PDP said Pres­i­dent Buhari’s vis­its to trou­bled states, par­tic­u­larly Benue, served no sin­cere pur­pose.

It asked, “What is the pur­pose of the con­do­lence visit when it does not come from the heart but or­ches­trated to de­ceive and be­guile the peo­ple ahead of the 2019 gen­eral elec­tions?

Ac­cord­ing to the party, af­ter the killings in Benue State, Buhari sum­moned the lead­ers of the state and the be­reaved to Abuja, rather than com­ply­ing with the age-long tra­di­tion of Africans by vis­it­ing the state.

The PDP stated, “Months af­ter their tears have dried, the Pres­i­dency is now try­ing to use them for a po­lit­i­cal pos­tur­ing by stag­ing a cos­metic con­do­lence visit just to score a po­lit­i­cal point.”

It asked the Pres­i­dent to tell Nige­ri­ans the steps taken by his gov­ern­ment to en­sure ad­e­quate pro­tec­tion for the peo­ple and to end the daily blood­let­ting in the land.

On his part, an aide to ex-pres­i­dent Good­luck Jonathan, Reno Omokri, in his twit­ter han­dle, said Buhari did not know what was hap­pen­ing in the coun­try.

Omokri wrote, “Dear Pres­i­dent @ Naku­foaddo, come and see the per­son who wants to help you fight cor­rup­tion in Ghana. A man who is clue­less about hap­pen­ings in his own gov­ern­ment wants to teach Ghana how to gov­ern!”

The CDHR said Buhari’s or­der which was dis­obeyed should make heads roll in his ad­min­is­tra­tion.

The CDHR Pres­i­dent, Malachy Ug­wum­madu, said the act showed “a dys­func­tional gov­ern­ment from the high­est level of op­er­a­tion which was the com­man­der-in-chief.”

He said, “If the com­man­der-in-chief is just re­al­is­ing that his com­mand was not obeyed one month af­ter, there is some­thing wrong with the sys­tem. By now, heads should have rolled in this sys­tem.”

The Na­tional Chair­man of the NCP, Dr. Yunusa Tanko, said the Pres­i­dent’s claim that he was un­aware of the re­fusal of the IGP to com­ply with his direc­tive was un­ac­cept­able.

Tanko, in a tele­phone in­ter­view with one of our cor­re­spon­dents, said, “How can the Pres­i­dent not be aware? If in­deed he is not aware; it goes to show how this ad­min­is­tra­tion is be­ing run.

“With all due re­spect, if the man (IGP) has not done what he is sup­posed to do as in­structed, it sim­ply means he is un­der­min­ing your au­thor­ity and as Pres­i­dent you should know what to do.”

Also the Cen­tre for Anti-cor­rup­tion and Open Lead­er­ship said the Pres­i­dent must de­mand an ex­pla­na­tion from the IG.

The CACOL Di­rec­tor, Debo Adeni­ran, said, “The Pres­i­dent does not have to take any im­pul­sive ac­tion. He must hear from the IG. To take what the state gov­ern­ment and mem­bers of the com­mu­ni­ties are say­ing may not be in the di­rec­tion of fair­ness and jus­tice.”

Buhari is sin­cere and coura­geous –APC

Re­spond­ing, the APC said the op­po­si­tion party should learn to live with the fact that Buhari was a forth­right leader.

The APC said the Pres­i­dent spoke from the heart and was sin­cere about is­sues.

This, the APC said, should not be mis­con­strued to mean the Pres­i­dent was not in charge.

The Na­tional Pub­lic­ity Sec­re­tary of the All Pro­gres­sives Congress, Mal­lam Bo­laji Ab­dul­lahi, spoke in a tele­phone in­ter­view with one of our cor­re­spon­dents.

Ab­dul­lahi said, “What the Pres­i­dent said with re­gard to the IG shows the level of sin­cer­ity of Mr. Pres­i­dent.

“It takes a very hon­est and coura­geous man to say what the Pres­i­dent said and I am sure the Pres­i­dent is ready to deal with the sit­u­a­tion aris­ing from that.

“If the op­po­si­tion see things dif­fer­ently you can’t blame them. They are look­ing for any­thing, just any­thing to bounce back to rel­e­vance but Nige­ri­ans are wiser.”

Herds­men kill two po­lice­men

Sus­pected Fu­lani herds­men on Sun­day killed two riot po­lice­men at Tse-or­agbo, in the Nyiev ward of the Guma Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Area of Benue State.

The PUNCH gath­ered that the slain po­lice­men were part of the se­cu­rity op­er­a­tives de­ployed in trou­bled com­mu­ni­ties in the state.

Sources told one of our cor­re­spon­dents that the slain po­lice­men were iden­ti­fied as Sergeant Ibrahim Shehu and Sergeant Mo­hammed Sani, adding that one was butchered, while the other had his neck twisted.

Their re­mains were brought to the morgue of the Fed­eral Med­i­cal Cen­tre, Makurdi, around 6.13pm on Sun­day.

When con­tacted, the state com­mand spokesman, ASP Moses Yamu, said he was yet to be briefed.

• Benue State Gov­er­nor, Mr. Sa­muel Or­tom (left), and Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari, dur­ing the Pres­i­dent’s visit to Benue State; protesters at the Gov­ern­ment House ... on Mon­day. Pho­tos: State House, Naira­land

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