Linus Oota, Lafia
Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, has explained that he stood by his words that the Fulani herdsmen attack which left many of people killed, houses burnt remain a communal clash.
The IGP who stated this, on Thursday, in Lafia, the Nasarawa State during a meeting with stakeholders from Nasarawa State, explained that his coming to the Nasarawa was to find lasting solutions to the communal clashes.
On Wednesday, the police boss had been quoted as apologising to the people of Benue State for describing the New Year Day’s killings carried out by herdsmen which led to the death of scores of citizens, as ‘communal clashes.’ I(GP Idris reportedly tendered the apology during a town hall meeting at the Government House in Makurdi, the state capital, on Wednesday, January 9.
But speaking in Lafia, Nasarawa State capital, on Thursday, at another town hall meeting there, the IGP was quoted as saying, “I was in Benue State and today I am in Nasarawa State to hear your presentations, your views and experiences we are having in some of this our communities. I still call it communities because we are dealing with human beings, and when you are dealing with human beings, you consult with various parties involved. I stand by my words that the crisis remain a communal clashes.
“We are here to hear your views. I appeal to everybody to be factual. As a police officer, like I said in Benue, we don’t demoralise people, whatever we see, whatever is our action is always geared towards peace and harmony among the communities and I still stand by my wards that the situation we are having on ground is a communal situation
“These are people that have been together for years and I think we should be our brother’s keepers. We should tolerate one another. The fact is that there is no body that can wish away any Nigerian from wherever he is and that is very important
“The issue of being your brothers keepers, tolerate one another is what every Nigerian must take seriously. I was a commissioner of police in this state earlier, and I passed through some of this issues we are facing now, and I think it is very important. I want to call on every Nigerian to be his brother’s keepers so that we can have peace and harmony in the society and that is the main focus of this meeting,” he said.
Also speaking, the IMC chairman of Awe local government Hon Hudu Tafida said as chief security officer of the local government, the crisis came as a result of the anti-open grazing law implemented in Benue state, adding that the Fulani and Tiv brothers in Awe leave in peace
He said that, at the movement there are about 18000 Internal Displaced Persons (IDPs) in seven camps in Awe and all are Tiv people “out of this number, over 500 are from Guma local government, the local government of the Benue state governor Sameul Ortom, all the Tiv people in Awe have left their homes” he said
He explain that the only solution to this crisis is to strengthen security at the border lines so that the Tiv farmers can go back to harvest their crops, adding that the police and men of the NSCDC deplored to the affected areas are not enough to calm down the situation in Awe except the presence of the military.
He said that the Fulani and Tiv people in Tunga are leaving in peace and denied allegation that the government of Nasarawa state camp militias in Awe and urged the IG of police to investigate the allegations.
Other speakers at the stakeholders meeting who trace the genesis of the crisis to the implementation of the anti-open grazing law in Benue state include Saraki Tunga, Alhaji Galadima Bala, the state commissioner for environment Hon Gabriel Akaka, Tiv elder from Tunga Zaki Katso, and the leader of Fulani community in Awe Ardo Maishanu.
The Emir of Azara, Dr Kabiru Musa said the crisis is characterized by the inappropriate implementation of the anti-open grazing law in Benue state “there is no Fulani man fighting Tiv in Nasarawa state, this crisis is as a result of the poor implementation of the anti-open grazing law in Benue state, where is the cattle ranches in Benue state, we want the IG to compel governor Ortom to re-examine the law”
The Emir of Lafia Alhaji Dr Mustapha Agwai II describe the comment by the Benue state governor that the Nasarawa state government camp the militia in Tunga, Awe local government as a hate speech that should not be taken lightly
According to him “The speech of the Benue governor is worrisome and I call it a hate speech, the anti-open grazing law in Benue state must be re-visited, if not the crisis have tendencies of spreading over to other parts of the country, I urged the IGP to look into the anti-open grazing law in Benue state and make appropriate recommendation to the Federal Government,” he said.
The meeting was attended by the Governor Umaru Tanko Al-makura, his deputy, Silas Agara, traditional rulers, Tiv leaders across the state, Miyyeti Allah leaders in the state and the various local government areas in the state, commissioners, special advisers, among others.