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Communal clashes, herders, bandit attacks threaten Benue — CP

The Commissioner of Police in Benue, Mr Fatai Owoseni, has admitted that the state is under threats of attacks from herdsmen, communal clashes and armed bandits.

Owoseni stated this on Tuesday in Makurdi during his maiden news briefing.

Police

He said that apart from the herdsmen attacks on some communities in the state, there were communal clashes and armed banditry going on in parts of the state.

He described the attacks on villages in Katsina-Ala and Zaki-Biam axis as pure banditry.

“You people are already familiar with the crisis in the state; there are three dimensions to it and we need to separate it from one another.

“You have the herdsmen attacks, the communal crisis in some parts of the state and pure acts of banditry.

“What is happening in the Katsina-Ala and Zaki-Biam axis are just pure acts of banditry and communal clashes.

“Ukum and Katsina-Ala local governments have a long history of communal crisis which, unfortunately, some political elements and bandits have taken advantage of.

“This bandits are connected to the notorious wanted Benue militia leader, Terwase Akwaza.

“So, following the directives of the I-G, a Special Police Team has been deployed to that axis to end acts of criminality.”

Owoseni also disclosed that two local government chairmen of Ukum and Katsina-Ala, together with other stakeholders, had been interrogated following the crisis.

He expressed regret that the command had yet to find one of its police officers deployed to Guma to repel the herdsmen attacks on the communities in the local government council.

He, however, hinted that available information showed he was still alive.

According to him, five persons have been arrested over the killings in Guma.

The commissioner said that there were no recent attacks on Guma, but expressed regret that the commotion that happened on the borders of Benue and Nasarawa states was caused by panic and not attacks.

He explained that the police were working in line with the security template provided by the Inspectior-General of Police (I-G), Mr Idris Ibrahim, to restore normalcy in affected parts of the state.

He said mischief makers had taken advantage of the herdsmen attack to steal and vandalize property through false security alarm with the motive of chasing away the people in order to steal and loot their possessions.

The commissioner also confirmed the death of an NNPC official, who was killed by armed bandits on the border towns of Guma and Nassarawa state while on official duty.

“I was told that some people from NNPC had come to do something on the pipeline within the border area ( Nassarawa and Benue) and that one person was attacked by bandits and killed.

” I must tell you that I have not gotten the full report of the incident; the team that came had 16 soldiers and about 10 mobile policemen.

“We were not aware of their presence in the state; I think they were working on the pipeline from the Nassarawa axis.”

The commissioner said that the Police had established a strong partnership with the people to build confidence and effectively gather information to completely end the crisis in the state.

Owoseni, therefore, sued for partnership with the police to effectively curb criminality in the country.

He, however, warned against the escalation of the security situation in the state through fake social media platforms.

“Social media is escalating the security challenges in Benue State, people are posting fake news and even some of the posts are comments made by certain people over three years ago.

“Yes, it is good to educate the public but it is not good to be glorifying criminals; when this is done we are sending bad signals that it pays to be a criminal.

“If you condemn the Government, you are condemning yourself; I seek your partnership and strong support, the police belongs to Nigerians,” he said.

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