The Inspector-General of Police, IGP Solomon Arase on Thursday assured that no group will overrun the country or illegally occupy any part of it under his watch as the nation’s number one cop.
He gave the assurance in Abuja at a public hearing on the influx of killer herdsmen to Benue State. The hearing was organized by the House of Representatives’ Committee on Police Affairs.
According to Mr. Arase, the Nigeria Police Force have so far arrested 18 people in connection with the attacks in Benue communities.
“Every life lost diminishes humanity as a whole”, the police chief said. “I have taken an oath to effectively police and protect every security space in Nigeria”.
“And I will continue to do that within the ambit of the law and to the best of my ability and that of my officers and men.
“And I make bold to say that the Nigerian State cannot be overrun by hoodlums, I can assure you”, he added.
Mr. Arase said the NPF had developed initiatives to restore normalcy and ensure peace in the state.
“I had a town hall meeting with stakeholders in Benue where each of the parties presented their positions, both verbally and in writing.
“It was a very protracted argument and before leaving, I was able to come up with some strategies on how to mitigate this crisis which I presented to the government of Benue and Nasarawa states”, he said.
Earlier the Deputy Governor of Benue State, Benson Abonu, who represented Governor Sameul Ortom at the hearing, told the committee that attacks in the state were well-organized with the attackers brandishing sophisticated weapons.
He said: “There appeared to be a systematic move by some people to annihilate the people of Benue State to establish a kingdom or some kind of ‘rulership’.
“It has taken a national dimension, whereby they want to weaken Benue, and then cross over to other parts of the country.
“Right now they have their presence in Kogi, they have attacked Ekiti, Oyo and they are counting. We have made this known to the Army and other security agencies.
“If we do not nip this in the bud, because it has already taken a national dimension, what we witnessed with insurgents in the North East may be a child’s play”, Mr. Abonu warned.
In their submission, the Tiv communities led by Edward Ujege, requested that N100 billion compensation be paid to assuage the loss of lives and properties in the communities.
Mr. Ujege also canvassed for the eviction of herdsmen whom he said had sacked and occupied the communities through violent means.
He also called for the establishment of cattle ranch, describing it as best way to curb the crises.
“Ranching is the only and sure way out of these crises and should be established and operated by individuals”.
The umbrella body of Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, was absent at the public hearing.