Solomon Arase, the Inspector-General of Police, on Thursday assured that no group will overrun the country or illegally occupy any part of it under his watch as the chief police officer. Mr. Arase gave the assurance in Abuja at a public hearing on the influx of herdsmen to Benue, organised by the House of Representatives’ Committee on Police Affairs.
He said the Nigeria Police Force have so far arrested 18 people in connection with the attacks in Benue communities. “Every life lost diminishes humanity as a whole,” Mr. Arase said. “I have taken an oath to effectively police and protect every security space in Nigeria. “And I will continue to do that within the ambit of the law and to the best of my ability and that of my officers and men. “And I make bold to say that the Nigerian State cannot be overrun by hoodlums, I can assure you.”
Mr. Arase said the NPF had developed initiatives to restore normalcy and ensure peace in the state. “I had a town hall meeting with stakeholders in Benue where each of the parties presented their positions, both verbally and in writing. “It was a very protracted argument and before leaving, I was able to come up with some strategies on how to mitigate this crisis which I presented to the government of Benue and Nasarawa states,” he said.
Earlier, Benson Abonu, deputy governor of Benue, told the committee that attacks in the state were well organised with sophisticated weapons.
He said: “There appeared to be a systematic move by some people to annihilate the people of Benue State to establish a kingdom or some kind of ‘rulership’. “It has taken a national dimension, whereby they want to weaken Benue, and then cross over to other parts of the country.
“Right now they have their presence in Kogi, they have attacked Ekiti, Oyo and they are counting. We have made this known to the Army and other security agencies.
“If we do not nip this in the bud, because it has already taken a national dimension, what we witnessed with insurgents in the North East may be a child’s play,” he warned.
The Tiv communities led by Edward Ujege, requested that N100 billion compensation be paid to assuage the loss of lives and properties in the communities.
Mr. Ujege also canvassed for the eviction of herdsmen whom he said had sacked and occupied the communities through violent means. He called for the establishment of cattle ranch, describing it as best way to curb the crises. “Ranching is the only and sure way out of these crises and should be established and operated by individuals.
The umbrella body of Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria, Miyetti Allah Cattle Rearers Association, was absent at the public hearing.