Gruesome Benue killings: Security agencies must do more – Jime
Reports about the gruesome killings of innocent people in Benue state by suspected herdsmen are chilling and troubling, to say the least. Farmers have been killed in their homes, the homes have been razed, and thousands of poor villagers have been displaced, dispossessed and destituted!
The casualty figures being mentioned in the reports range from 20 to 50! These numbers exclude the wounded who are possibly in their hundreds – if not thousands. But even if one discountenances the wounded and the displaced, having 20 deaths in peace-time is a national tragedy! This is, at once, unacceptable.
What is worrisome about the killings is that they took place in three local government areas simultaneously i.e. Katsina-Ala, Logo and Guma – perhaps implying that these were “coordinated attacks” as Vanguard put it!
And even more worrisome is the sheer brutality of the attacks: hacking children with machetes; slaughtering peoples like animals; molesting and desecrating corpses, killing pregnant women and removing the fetuses to butcher and display etc.
But the worry is further accentuated by the alleged killing of nine guards, who were recruited to enforce the Anti Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law 2017 enacted by the Benue State Government!
With a heavy heart, I call on the security agents to match words with action. Marauders who murder innocent people in cold-blood must not go scot-free, but must be made to face the unsmiling face of the law. Nigeria is a country governed by law – not banditry or hooliganism!
It is gratifying that some suspects have been arrested and put on trial. While hoping the judicial process would run its full course, I urge the security agents to go further by unmasking the sponsors of these most cruel attacks on innocent people.
It is gladdening that Mr. President has not only condemned the killings and sent the Minister of Interior to Benue on commiserative-visit, he has equally directed the security agencies to bring the “criminals” to book.
And with a State Police Command, Zone 4 of the NPF and a plurality of military formations in the state, I believe the security agents are equal to the task and must rise to the occasion – especially with reports that fresh attacks are being carried or planned.
HON. EMMANUEL JIME
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