…probe military operations nationwide
… investigate alleged police unwillingness to enforce anti-grazing laws
… request release of N10bn for reconstruction, resettlement of IDPs
By Levinus Nwabughiogu-Abuja
House of Representatives yesterday requested the Defence Ministry and Nigerian Army to immediately deploy more personnel and equipment including surveillance and intelligence gathering technology to operation whirl stroke operatives in Benue State to tackle the resurgence of attacks by suspected herdsmen.
It also mandated its Committees on Defence and Army to immediately conduct an investigation into the prevailing circumstances and conditions of operation whirl stroke and other military operations operatives across the country to identify any constraints deterring them from carrying out their mandate of protecting the lives and property of Nigerians.
The House also asked its Committees on Police Affairs and Justice to investigate the allegation that the Police was unwilling to support the Benue State Government in the enforcement of the anti-open grazing law and the constitutional implication.
The parliament also asked the federal government to immediately intervene in the plight of IDP’S across Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba States with a view to returning them to their homes or resettling them.
Also read: Benue boils again: 11 feared dead, 7 missing, scores injured in interstate communal, herders clashes
It also called for the reconstruction of damaged communities and provision of educational, health and other required facilities in line with the pronouncement by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in Benue State on 18 May 2018 that N10billion had been approved by President Muhammadu Buhari for reconstruction and resettlement of communities in Nigeria ravaged by herdsmen attacks.
The plethora of resolutions came on the heels of the renewed attacks in Mbamondu Village, Vengav in Avihijime Ward of Gwer-West Local Government of Benue State which were presented via a motion on Wednesday plenary by Hon. Mark Gbillah.
Presenting the motion, Gbillah said that the House was alarmed by the “brutal murder of 17 innocent Nigerians by suspected herdsmen in Mbamondu Village, Vengav in Avihijime Ward of Gwer-West Local Government of Benue State on Sunday, May 2, 2021, and the recent apparent resurgence in the murder of innocent helpless Nigerians by suspected herdsmen in Gwer-West, Guma, Makurdi and Agatu LGAs of the States where over 70 people have been murdered in the last three weeks with over 24 people murdered in Gwer-west LGA alone.”
He expressed concern about the seeming inability of operation whirl stroke operatives stationed in Gwer-west LGA and other security agencies in the area to counter the current guerilla tactics of these attackers and respond to distress calls by the victims, proactively prevent the attacks and apprehend even one of these murderers in the last three weeks.
Gbillah said that attackers were “suspected to be exacting vengeance on innocent citizens in Benue because of their displeasure with the Benue State Governments enforcement of the anti-open grazing law which is legitimate constitutional legislation that the Police and other security agencies are alleged to not be supporting the Benue State government with implementation and enforcement of.”
The lawmaker was also worried that “thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP’S) who have fled their homes as a result of these attacks and are currently seeking refuge in very unsanitary and uncovered schools and locations in different parts of the state without any means of sustenance, shelter or protection and at the mercy of inclement weather and the likelihood of further attacks by the suspected herdsmen.”
He said that the increasing number of IDP’S the attacks have created in addition to the hundreds of thousands of IDP’S already existing across Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba States who for several years have been unable to return to their homes.
He said the IDPs have not resettled but were languishing in inhuman conditions with increasing cases of loss of lives from malnourishment and disease.
Adopting the motion after securing the support of the majority of the members, the House asked the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to immediately provide relief materials to affected communities in Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba States.
Similarly, it gave the relevant Committee 4 weeks within which to conclude the assignment while mandating its Committee on Defence and Army to ensure compliance.