Benue crisis: Did IGP Idris truly disobey Presidential order?
By Mohammed Baba Busu
The recent outburst and condemnation by some Nigerians over the statement of President Muhammadu Buhari, that he was unaware that the IGP did not spend many days in Benue State as he directed, have become a source of concern to many.
Even though the reactions and outbursts of many Nigerians are due to, in most cases, ignorance of the operations of the Nigeria Police Force, others, are however, due to the lack of the knowledge of the facts on ground coupled with envy.
There is no doubt, Nigeria is faced with many security challenges that are capable of disorganizing and destabilising the most intelligent security chief of any country.
Since his assumption of office, the IGP has been battling with one form of high level security challenge or the other. It is unfortunate that IGP Idris came at a time when kidnapping, cattle rustling and the crisis between the herdsmen and farmers were at their peak.
Following his effort to tackle all these issues, he has obviously stepped on some powerful toes, and eventually generated bad blood.
His efforts have attracted many more enemies. However, this is the price he has to pay as the chief security officer of the country.
It is worth mentioning that IGP Idris, within the past two years, has performed and gotten tangible results more than any other IGP ever produced in Nigeria.
It is during the tenure of IGP Idris that the international kidnap kingpin, popularly known as Evans and his colleagues who have defied arrest and carried out their deadly trade for many years during the tenure of many other IGPs, were arrested.
It was also during the tenure of IGP Idris that the notorious Kaduna highway where many people, including high profile Nigerians, were kidnapped over the years, have now become a safe haven.
It is worth recalling that since assumption of office, over 3000 kidnappers, cattle rustlers and armed robbers have been arrested and are currently standing trial in different parts of the country.
It is also during the tenure of IGP Idris that those who sponsor and buy illegal weapons for militia groups are being blocked and exposed. Indeed, the IGP has stepped on many toes, hence, the hatred and condemnation.
When President Muhammadu Buhari directed the IGP to relocate to Benue State to tackle the farmers/herdsmen clashes, he quickly put machinery in place and left immediately.
He moved with additional five units of Police Mobile Force (PMF). This is apart from the initial five units that he dispatched to the state.
More Units of the Police Special Forces, Counter Terrorism Units, and Conventional Policemen were also deployed to the state.
Also, Aerial Surveillance was intensified, while the Police Mobile Force Personnel, Police Special Forces and conventional Police Personnel, the Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU), Police Explosive Ordinance Department (EOD) and Special Police Joint Intelligence and investigation teams were further deployed to Benue State
It is also worth noting that when the IGP arrived in Benue State, he held several meetings with all stakeholders, including traditional rulers and community leaders in Makurdi, the state capital.
In order to boost confidence and also encourage the people of the areas directly affected by the killings, the IGP visited the hot and trouble spots of Gbajimba, headquarters of Guma Local Govt area of the state.
The IGP visited Anyiin and Tunga villages ravaged by the suspected killer militia in the state and assured them of adequate police protection to prevent a recurrence of the attacks.
The IGP’s visit to the communities was prompted by allegations from Gov. Orton that militiamen killing Benue farmers were being camped in Tunga, Awe Local Government Area of Nasarawa State, and to see things for himself.
After touring the deadly spots in both Benue and Nasarawa states, four days after, the IGP further directed the Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Operations who is the third in command in the Force hierarchy to remain in Benue State while he attended to some pressing issues in some parts of the country.
Since then, the IGP had been monitoring closely and getting feedback from the DIG operations almost on hourly basis.
With all these efforts, who will then have the clear conscience to say that the IGP disobeyed the president’s order?
It is definitely mischievous and wicked to say the IGP disregarded the President’s directive.
It is therefore, necessary to advise the government and indeed, all stakeholders in Benue State, to join hands with the Federal Government to find a lasting solution to the crisis rocking the state, instead of trading blames.
The government of Benue State should know that the crises were not instigated by the IGP or the Nigeria Police Force, rather it is due to lack of employing the best approach to resolving issues by the state government.
Indeed the government’s hasty and uncoordinated approaches in establishment of anti grazing laws escalated the crisis beyond their imagination.
The Benue State government must, at this point, change tactics in finding ways to resolve the crisis between herdsmen and farmers in the state.
It is therefore, pertinent to state clearly that the IGP did not disobey the order given to him by our dear President and father of the nation.
It therefore beats every imagination for any right-thinking citizen to believe that the chief law enforcement officer of a country like Nigeria would ever toy with a presidential directive and the security of citizens.
Indeed Nigerians can now know clearly that the accusers of IGP Idris only wallowed in the figment of their myopic imagination.
Mohammed Baba Busu is media adviser to IGP Ibrahim Idris