Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday morning summoned and met with the Inspector-General of Police Ibrahim Idris over his reported failure to relocate to Benue after the killings as directed.
The meeting, coming a day after Benue leaders told Buhari that the IGP did not comply with his directive to relocate to Benue over the killings by suspected herdsmen, was said to have held in the morning.
The IGP was said to be the first caller to the Presidential Villa Tuesday morning, meeting in private with the President for about 30 minutes before leaving.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, who was guest of a radio show Political Platform on RayPower 100.5 FM, said the President would first hear from the Inspector-General of Police before taking any action.
Buhari had during a meeting with stakeholders in Makurdi during his visit to Benue State on Monday expressed surprise that the IGP had apparently not adhered to his instructions to relocate to the state when the spate of killings by Fulani herdsmen started.
“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,” the President had said when he was told that Idris did not spend 24 hours in the state.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, confirmed the Inspector General’s meeting with the President in a message sent to select journalists.
The message read: “Police IG Idris was the first caller this morning at the Presidential villa apparently to explain his flouting of the President’s order to remain in Benue at the height of the incidence between farmers and herdsmen.
“President Buhari, who is believed to have summoned the IG, received him in a private audience. The IG left about 30 minutes after without speaking to anyone.
“It is believed that, short of a query, the president demanded for a full report on police operations till date after which he will make further decisions.
“There is a renewed resolve to make sure that the killings and bad security situation in Benue State abates.”
President Buhari, who assured the Benue people of his loyalty, told the leaders that rather than just condemning the IGP, he would prefer to seek an explanation from him.
President Buhari had on January 9 ordered the IGP to relocate to Benue, eight days after suspected herdsmen attacked parts of the state and killed 73 people.
The attacks displaced hundreds, led to tensions on the Benue-Nasarawa border, and outcry by the people of Benue and others worried about the prolonged herdsmen-farmers conflict.
Days after the President’s directive, the Benue State Government accused the IGP of bias and of flouting the Presidential order. This led to a war of words between the state government and the police, with Governor Samuel Ortom calling on the IGP to resign.
The Police Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood, in reaction asked the governor to resign and described him as a drowning man, an action condemned by the Senate.
The Senate called for the removal of Moshood and asked President Buhari to replace the IGP with a more competent appointee.