By Kingsley Omonobi & Peter Duru
The Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar 111, has described marauding herdsmen causing havoc across the country as criminals.
The Sultan made the declaration, even as the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, stated that the Nigerian Police needed to employ 155,000 new police officers to meet with the United Nation’s ratio of one policeman to 400 Nigerians.
This is as armed men suspected to be Fulani herdsmen on Wednesday night invaded Mbavuur and Mbaya council wards in Logo and Buruku Local Government Areas of Benue State, killing about eight persons and injuring scores.
Speaking at the 2017 National Security Summit on Farmers/Pastoralist clashes, kidnapping and other forms of violent crimes and bank security in Nigeria in Abuja yesterday, the Sultan said: “We don’t support anybody picking up arms to kill another person. That person is a criminal, whether you are a Fulani herdsmen or Yoruba or Ibo or from Middle Belt.
“We must be honest with ourselves. Our problem is not with organizing symposia, summits, and fora on challenges of security. Our problem is non-implementation of the several decisions and recommendations from such summits due to dishonesty and selfishness.’’
While noting that national security must be placed above individual liberty, Sultan Abubakar said: “You cannot claim freedom of expression and insult everybody; you cannot claim freedom of religion and cause problems.”
He drew the attention of the gathering to other security challenges, apart from the herdsmen/farmers menace.
“What is the role of the Nigerian Police Force? Are they being apolitical? Do we take instructions from some political leaders and refuse instructions from others.
“My advice to security agencies, Police officers, military officers and other Para-military organizations is that we must play by the book. Criticisms should not be seen as disloyalty.
“Political leaders should help this country. Let all politicians after elections, keep aside sentiments and forge ahead. Political corruption, hunger, unemployment by bad government is also security threat.’’
Explaining the impact of the shortfall of manpower in the fight against criminality, IGP Idris said: “The absence of recruitment of able-bodied Nigerians between 2011 and 2016 has left a huge gap in the manpower needs of the force due to attrition as a result of retirements, death and resignations.
“If this requirement is to be taken into consideration, the Police force needs to recruit at least 31,000 officers yearly for a period of at least five years.’’
On new measures being put in place to combat crime, the IGP said seven Mobile Police Squadrons have been set up in Osun, Enugu, Taraba, Niger, Plateau, Kaduna and Ogun states.
“To further strengthen the capacity and quick response status of the Police Mobile Force Squadrons nationwide, the deployment of MOPOL personnel for close protection duties has been banned,” he said.
Idris added that 14 Special Protection Bases have been established in Anambra, Imo, Enugu, Plateau, Nasarawa, Ogun, Rivers, Delta, Bayelsa, Borno, Yobe, Bauchi, Ondo and Zamfara states.
Other speakers at the summit included the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Interior Minister, Lt. General Abdurahman Dambazau who represented Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, Governor Samuel Othorm of Benue State and Gombe State Governor, Ibrahim Dankwabo.
Meanwhile, the latest Benue attack, came less than a week after three villages, including Tse-Akaa, Mba’abaji and Tse-Orlalu in Logo LGA were sacked by suspected herdsmen who also killed about 15 persons.
Vanguard gathered that the incursion, which started late Tuesday at Mbavuur, Wednesday spread to Mbaya, hometown of the lawmaker representing Buruku federal constituency at the National Assembly, Mr. Orker Jev, where close to 5,000 cows had taken over the community.