12 January 2018

Nigeria: Benue Killings - Senate Committee Urges Govt to Explore Libya, Boko Haram Link

Photo: The Guardian
Armed herdsmen.

Abuja — The Senate Committee on Police Affairs has urged the federal government to investigate the possibility that those responsible for the killings in Benue State and other parts of the country, may be fleeing Boko Haram insurgents and displaced soldiers from Libya.

The Committee Chairman, Senator Abu Ibrahim, speaking with select journalists thursday said the investigation is necessary considering that normal Fulani herdsmen are not known to possess sophisticated weapons.

He added that it is also possible that the killings are being perpetrated by Boko Haram members who are being displaced by the bombardment of their camps in the North-east by Nigerian military forces.

"We have to seriously investigate this. A normal Fulani man is not known to carry AK47. The security agencies should probe whether the defeated Boko Haram insurgents were involved; whether the Gaddafi phenomenon has spilled over to Nigeria. It should be considered whether displaced Libyan soldiers had a hand in what happened because it is not easy to acquire AK47," the senator said.

He also noted that whatever the reasons are, it is necessary that the security agencies get a hold of the situation and stop the killings, before other variables cause further complications and escalate the crises.

"The police officers are doing their best, and with the deployment of soldiers and heavy police presence, they should be able to be on top of the situation to ensure that normalcy returns to the state," Ibrahim said.

The lawmaker also dismissed insinuations that the executive, under President Muhammadu Buhari is not committed to stopping the attacks because he is a Fulani man like the herdsmen.

"It is not true because the president has taken steps to bring the situation under control. He has deployed soldiers to Benue State, he ordered the Inspector General of Police to relocate to Benue. He as taken other measures that may not be for public consumption.

"It is therefore wrong for anybody to say that the president is not interested in what happened in the state. When the president saw that the police effort was not bring effected result, he promptly deployed soldiers," the lawmaker added.

In another development, the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu has expressed condolences to the people and government of Benue State over the killings of over 80 persons.

In a statement issued on occasion of the mass burial of the victims, he described the murders as a preventable loss of lives, and reiterated his call for decentralised policing.

"This is a black Thursday, not only for the people of Benue State, but also for the entire nation. My heartfelt condolences go to the government and people of Benue State as the victims of the suspected herdsmen attacks are committed to mother earth.

"While I join fellow Nigerians to pray for the peaceful repose of the souls of the victims and for fortitude to those who lost their loved ones, let me reiterate that we must avert such future occurrences by urgently rethinking our security system," Ekweremadu said.

He added that decentralising the police would enable every federating unit take its fate in its own hands, in effectively protecting the lives and property of its citizens and residents.

This is the primary object of government, Ekweremadu noted.

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