…says allegations against Buhari unkind, incorrect
Insinuations and allegations that the attacks and killings are happening because President Buhari is Fulani are both unkind and incorrect. These attacks long predated the Buhari government. In 2013, no fewer than nine cases of herdsmen attacks were recorded in Benue State alone, with more than 190 people killed. In 2014, there were no fewer than 16 recorded attacks in Benue, which claimed more than 230 victims. Between January and May 2015, six attacks left more than 300 people dead, again in Benue State alone.
This historical context is important for a proper understanding of the issue, and to avoid unnecessarily politicising what should be regarded and dealt with as acts of criminality. These attacks have been a longstanding issue, and successive governments have struggled to contain the situation.
The Buhari administration is more than fully committed to bringing the cycle of violence to an end, prosecuting the attackers, and preventing further killings and attacks. The security agencies have standing instructions to arrest and prosecute any and all persons found with illegal arms.
The recent killings in Benue and Taraba States have elicited the following Federal responses:
1. President Buhari has met with the Governor of Benue State on the matter to assure him of the Federal Government’s commitment to protecting farmers and communities.
2. President Buhari has directed the Inspector General of Police to relocate to Benue State.
3. On Monday January 8, 2018, the Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau convened a security meeting on the issue, bringing together Federal and state government officials: Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Heads of security agencies, and the Governors of the most affected States: Adamawa, Benue, Kaduna, Nasarawa, and Taraba.
4. On Wednesday January 10, 2018, the IG held a stakeholders engagement with the Benue State government, elders, community, religious and traditional leaders etc
5. Since the first week of January, immediately following the January 1 attacks, the Inspector General of Police has deployed the following to the affected areas:
• Ten (10) Units of PMF
• Police Special Forces