The Inspector General of Police, IGP, Solomon Arase, has faulted the claims that over 500 persons were killed in Agatu area of Benue State. Arase, while speaking at the investigative hearing organised by the House of Representatives committee on the killings in Benue State said only three persons were killed.
Recall that Arase had during his visit to the state, where he stopped in Makurdi, claimed that he did not see 300 graves, contrary to the claim by the people of the area that more than 300 persons were killed by the herdsmen.
While the Benue people testified that 500 Agatu people were killed and the NSCDC said it was 300, the IGP maintained that only three people were killed, and said even though 18 people had been arrested in connection with the killings, there was no sufficient evidence to prosecute them.
He said his professional calling would not allow him to reveal all he was doing in the case, but that he had engaged all the parties in the crisis with a view to achieving peace. He said that paucity of funds, shortage of personnel, logistics and technology, were impeding police’s efforts in the crisis.
“We have apprehended some persons, may be investigation is rather slow. You must be able to assemble sufficient evidence to prosecute them. I don’t just want to prosecute people without securing conviction,” Arase stated.
He appealed to the people to be patient with them, saying, “It is not as if we are not doing anything.”
The IGP told the committee that he has also lost men in the crisis, which had rendered women widows and children orphans in their barracks.
The committee, concluded that it would hold further hearing with those from Agatu and the Idoma, as well as have the Benue State Commissioner of Police testify on the crisis.