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Thursday, 8 February 2018

Insecurity: Replace IGP now, Reps tell Buhari as Army deploys troops to Benue, other

The Federal Government, yesterday, ordered immediate deployment of troops to Benue, Taraba, Nasarawa, Kogi, Niger and Kaduna states to contain insecurity in the six states. 

The deployment came following ceaseless clashes between farmers and herdsmen which have resulted in several deaths and destruction of property worth several billions of Naira. Meanwhile, peeved by the state of insecurity in the country, the House of Representatives, yesterday, asked President Muhmmadu Buhari to sack the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, and replace him with ‘a more professional officer’. 

This came on a day the Senate threw out the report of the Committee on Police Affairs, National Security and Intelligence over recent killings in Benue State, and scolded the committee for writing and presenting what it described as unbalanced and incomplete report.

 Deployment of troops The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai, who announced the development at a press conference, yesterday in Abuja, said the troops will carry out special operations in the affected states in conjunction with other sister security agencies, including the Nigerian Police, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps among others.

Army deploys troops to Benue
 Army Chief of Training and Operations, Major General David Ahmadu, who briefed the media on behalf of Buratai on the planned conduct of the special Army operations, tagged: ”Exercise Ayem Akpatuma”, said the exercise had become more “expedient due to upsurge in cases of armed banditry, kidnapping and cattle rustling in Kaduna and Niger states as well as other sundry crimes in Kogi State and herdsmen/farmers clashes and attacks on innocent members of our communities, particularly in Benue, Taraba and Nasarawa states by armed militias.

 According to him, the special operations will be conducted in 1 and 3 Divisions, including Headquarters, Guards Brigade, and 707 Brigade; Areas of Responsibility, covering Benue, Taraba, Kogi, Nasarawa, Kaduna and Niger states from Thursday, February 15 to Saturday, March 31, 2018. He said: “You may recall that last year, the Nigerian Army conducted several training activities for its personnel in different geopolitical zones of the country, in line with its constitutional role in aid of civil authority. “More so, Exercise Ayem Akpatuma has become more expedient due to upsurge in cases of armed banditry, kidnapping and cattle rustling in Kaduna and Niger states as well as other sundry crimes in Kogi State and herdsmen/farmers clashes and attacks on innocent members of our communities particularly in Benue, Taraba and Nasarawa States by armed militias.

 “These security challenges have continued unabated in these states, despite the efforts by sister security agencies to curb them. Exercise Ayem Akpatuma “This exercise will be conducted in conjunction with other security agencies such as Department of State Services, the Nigeria Police and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps. “It will also afford the troops an opportunity to effectively checkmate the dreadful activities of the marauding criminal militias perpetrating criminal acts in these states and environs.“

 Major-General Ahmadu also said  Exercise Ayem Akpatuma was conceptualized to dovetail into real-time operations, thereby fulfilling both training and operations objectives of sharpening operational skills of personnel as well as providing an avenue to conduct operations against violent criminals when called upon. “Exercise Ayem Akpatuma will also be unique as the ones before it, with the establishment of Step-Up Brigade Headquarters in Benue, Taraba, Kogi, Nasarawa, Kaduna and Niger states. 

Emphasis will be placed on raids, cordon-and-search operations, anti-kidnapping drills, road blocks, check-points and show of force, as well as humanitarian activities such as medical outreach. “It is pertinent to note that Exercise Ayem Akpatuma is set to be another remarkable exercise that would make the nation proud of the Nigerian Army’s determination to sustain its constitutional role of defending the territorial integrity of the nation as well as its commitment to aid the civil authority to bring about peace and security in troubled areas.

 “In this regard, members of the public, especially residents of Benue, Taraba, Kogi, Nasarawa, Kaduna and Niger states are enjoined not to panic as the security, safety and well-being of innocent and law abiding citizens have been deliberately factored in the planning of this exercise. “In order to ensure cordial civil-military relations, we shall make contact phone numbers of all Brigade Commanders public in addition to the Nigerian Army short code Information and Call Centre 193.” 

Sack IGP — Reps Lawmakers in the House of Representatives, after listening to two separate motions by Mark Gbillah and Nuhu Damburam from Benue and Kano on the state of insecurity in their respective states and the alleged lackadaisical attitude of the IGP, did not hesitate to pass a vote of no confidence on the Police boss. This development was sequel to an amendment to a prayer in Nuhu Damburam of Kano’s motion under matters of public importance on the need to stop thuggery in Kano State. John Dyegh (APC, Benue), had moved that his prayer be amended to reflect that the IGP should be replaced by a more professional police officer. 

The Speaker at this point, said “if we amend, it all means we have passed a vote of no confidence” and the response was a thunderous yes! Before the amendment move by John Dyegh, most of the lawmakers, who spoke on the state of thuggery in Kano, had appealed for peace to reign in Kano. Damburam, leading the debate, had argued that “thuggery in recent times in Kano has really impeded law and order in the state as Police and other security operatives turn blind eyes to what is happening around them. “This development is dangerous to democracy and it’s worrisome that a ranking lawmaker is at the top of such a situation.” 

In his contribution, Kolawole Gabriel (PDP, Ondo), said “thuggery can only be curtailed if the youths are gainfully employed and unfortunately if you are not in the ruling party, you are prone to attack.” The ayes have it Ali Madaki (APC, Kano), in his view, pointed accusing fingers at the IGP, saying ”he is the cause of lawlessness across the state as he seems to be aiding them.” 

House Whip, Alhassan Ado Doguwa, however, spoke against the position of his colleagues, claiming that ”without any fear of contradiction, your position on this matter was mischievous, misleading and misinforming the House.’’ He was greeted by a thunderous No! No! by his colleagues, who equally warned that his choice of words were not honourable. Kingsley Chinda (PDP, Rivers), citing Order 9, Rule 7 of the House, demanded that the Whip should withdraw such words “as they were unparliamentary.

 But Doguwa continued, insisting that he would not change his choice of words. The presiding officer, Yakubu Dogara, after listening to all the submissions, put it to a voice vote and the ayes carried the day. Earlier, Mark Gbillah under matter of National Importance, entitled: “Motion on The Derogatory Statement By the Police PRO Against An Executive Governor of a state and the seeming unwillingness of the IGP to recognize and enforce a constitutionally enacted law by the legislative arm of Government”, had an overwhelming support. 

After close to an hour debate on the issue, the House resolved that the constituted House committee on the recent killings and insecurity should further investigate the IGP’s utterances, outside apologising to Governor Ortom. The lawmakers also asked for the immediate removal of the Force PRO. Pally Iriase (APC, Edo); Hassan Saleh (APC, Benue); Kingsley Chinda and others contributed meaningfully to the debate. Benue Reps on Police PRO In a related development, the Benue State caucus in the House of Representatives, yesterday, warned the IGP to steer clear of politics and restrict himself to the role of maintaining law and order. Spokesman of the Caucus, John Dyegh said:  “Jimoh Moshood’s tirade against the governor is hate speech and, therefore, a criminal act. 

“We condemn and reject the calls for the resignation of Governor Samuel Ortom by the Nigeria Police, as openly canvassed by Jimoh on a national television. “Governor Ortom has done excellently well to protect the lives and property of all residents of Benue State within the limits of his powers and the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. 

“We therefore, stand with Ortom and support the full implementation of the anti-grazing law as the only panacea to resolving the perennial herdsmen attacks on our farmers and communities and a peaceful co-existence of all residents/inhabitants of Benue State. 

Senate throws out  committee report Meanwhile, the Senate, yesterday threw out the report of its Committee on Police Affairs and National Security and Intelligence over recent killings in Benue State, saying it was unbalanced and incomplete. According to the Senate, the report failed to unfold the failings of the Nigeria Police in curbing the killings in Benue and many other states. Consequently, the Upper Chamber asked  the committee to do a more balanced and objective report for Senate’s consideration. 

It asked the committee, headed by Senator Abu Ibrahim (APC, Katsina South), to take testimonies from the governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, who was massively indicted by the report and report back in one week. It was particularly not happy that the committee members failed to reach out to the governor to get his own views, even after the panel had met with the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, who spoke against Ortom. Soon after Senator Ibrahim presented the six-page report where he highlighted the ‘achievements’ so far recorded by the Police IGP, than other senators took him up, describing the report as biased, unbalanced and incomplete. 

His colleagues came down hard on him when Senator Ibrahim asked the senators to commend the IGP for his efforts after the Benue crisis. What was submitted to the Senate was based mainly on the testimony of Ibrahim Idris, just as the report blamed the recent disturbance in Benue on the Anti-Open Grazing Bill passed by the state.

SOURCE: Vanguard Newspaper

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