By Ikechukwu Okaforadi and Christiana Ekpa
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday turned down the request by the Senate to hold a security summit in the Presidential villa, saying the government and security agencies were already addressing the crisis between the herdsmen and farmers in some states.
The Senate however, summoned the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, to appear before its Committee on Police Affairs to brief it on why the Force failed to apprehend, prosecute culprits and address the insecurity the affected towns.
The President, in a letter addressed to the Senate President with the tittled: ‘Re: Report on the Review of the Security Infrastructure on Nigeria on the Emergency Visit to Benue State”, said to infer that nothing had been done by the government was incorrect as the Police were strenuously working to apprehend the rest of the culprits of the heartless killings.
He said: “I have instructed the IGP to relocate to Benue state and redeploy forces to the most sensitive towns. The federal government is initiating measures to address these and other security challenges, alleviate the consequence of these attacks and forestall reoccurrence. The senate resolution itemized in your letter would be taken into consideration and I am instructing all relevant MDAs to factor them in their work.
“On December 19 to be precise, while receiving the report of the committee that was set up to review the technical and administrative structure of the NIA, I underscored the need to review the entire national security architecture as I promised in my inaugural address on the 29th May 2015, action is being initiated to receive maximum cooperation from the senate in line with paragraph three of the senate resolutions”, Buhari told Senate in the letter.”
Itemizing the steps taken by the government to address the farmers/herders crisis, he reminded the senate that on Thursday 4th January, he sent the Minister of Interior and the Deputy Inspector-General of police in charge of operations for an on-the-spot assessment of the situation.
“You may recall that I told you of the following steps taken as soon as the information came in to me about the Benue killings. On Friday 5th January, the Inspector-General of Police briefed me verbally on the latest situation, calm had then been restored.
“On Monday 8th, the minister of interior met with the following, governors of Adamawa, Kaduna, Niger, Benue Taraba and Nasarawa together with the DG of the State Security Services, Inspector-General of Police, CG Civil Defence, Minister of agriculture and rural development and police commissioners of the six aforementioned states.
“After the meeting, I instructed the Minister of Interior to brief you on the information gathered so far and steps taken. 9th of January, at a session with governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state during which in informed of police arrests of some suspects. In addition, I told him that I have instructed to speed up trial of the suspects and give wide publicity of the police efforts.
He also told the senate that at the instance of the Governor, a meeting was held in the Presidential Villa on 15th with a wide cross-section of Benue personalities and frank and open discussions were held, where everybody appreciated the difficulties of this farmers-herders strife, even as he assured all of his commitment and assured that justice would be done.
“I thank you for your letter referenced NASS/8S/R/01/33 dated 18th January 2018 and carefully studied the resolutions and comments there in. As I briefed you and the RT. Hon speaker when we met, several courses of action have been taken prior to the senate resolution.”
The Senate had last week passed a resolution to hold a security summit to debate how the security architecture of the country should be reviewed for efficiency.