From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi
Benue State Police Commissioner, Mr. Ene Okon has lamented over the proliferation of arms in the state ahead of the 2019 elections.
The Commissioner who raised the concern when he hosted leaders of the tribal groups of the state, including the Mdzough U Tiv, Opitoha K’ Idoma, OKI, and the Omi Ny’ Igede, ONI, accused politicians of arming thugs to cause mayhem in the state, stating that the command was fully aware of the plot.
He urged the leaders to plead with the political class to strive towards peaceful election in the state rather than stockpile weapons, noting that intelligence report at their disposal clearly indicate that politicians are arming thugs to maim and kill.
“It baffles me that they have resorted to arming thugs to harass opponents, it is indeed a worrisome development and it is unacceptable to my command.
“But I have words for the masterminds of this act, I will go after the thugs and their principals. I am not begging them to stop but I am warning. It is either they retrieve those weapons from their thugs and hand same to the Police or we will go after the thugs and their sponsors.
“I also appeal to you the tribal leaders to go back home to your communities and talk to parents and their children especially the thugs who have decided to become cannon fodders in our society.
“We are also worried because after the elections these weapons are used for robbery and kidnap of innocent citizens so we will crackdown on those behind the dastardly act.
Earlier leader of the delegation and Chairman of the tribal leaders, Chief Edward Ujege commended the command for the manner it handled the insecurity situation in the state, “especially the invasion, killings, destruction of property and displacement of our people by militant herdsmen.
“It is regrettable that this command and indeed the Police in Nigeria lost officers and men who put their lives on the line for us to enjoy relative peace as they worked day and night.
“You have played major roles, alongside your sister security agencies for us to experience the peace that we currently enjoy and we cannot thank you enough.
“We hope that in the coming elections politicians will play the game by the rules and it is our hope that the Police and other security agencies will conduct themselves in the highest professional manner that would further enhance their image and give the people confidence,” the police commissioner said.