President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday expressed shock that the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, disobeyed his directives to stay in Benue until the blood-letting between farmers and herdsmen was resolved.
The President, who made this known while speaking at a meeting with leaders and stakeholders of the state during his assessment visit to the state, also said his government is deeply worried about incessant attacks on Benue’s rural communities and vowed to end the menace very soon.
In the wake of the public outcry that met the murder of over 70 persons by suspected herdsmen, the president had instructed the IGP to relocate to the state until the carnage was contained.
The police boss had reportedly spent less than 24 hours in the state before leaving – an action that sparked outrage from Nigerians because the president failed to reprimand him.
However, in his meeting with farmers, herdsmen, government officials and other stakeholders in Makurdi, Buhari denied insinuations that he was not interested in what was happening to Benue State.
“I cannot overlook the killings in Benue or any other part of Nigeria. I cannot do that. I am genuinely worried about the attacks in Benue and we are doing everything to end them,” he said.
He said the insecurity in some states was a major concern to his government and that concerted efforts were being made to restore normalcy to every part of the country.
Mr. Buhari said he was surprised that the IGP did not spend 24 hours in Benue when he directed him to relocate to the state and remain there till peace was restored.
“I am getting to know this in this meeting. I am quite surprised,” he said.
Daily Post quoted Buhari as saying:
“The problem in Benue started worsening because the IGP refused to follow my instruction. What I did was to call him (IGP) and give him the directive. I didn’t know he moved here (Benue State) and didn’t spend much time … and then moved to Nasarawa. It’s only now that I am knowing that.”
“But I know I dispatched him here. It is wrong to think I have abandoned the people of Benue. I still have at heart.”
“I thank the governor and the people of the state for receiving me.”
“We have deployed security agencies to make sure the clashes between farmers and end as soon as possible.”
He, however said he quietly reprimanded the Inspector General of Police over the killings in Benue State.
Presidential spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina quoted Buhari as saying that he was not in the habit of publicly rebuking his appointees as many would desire.
The president said he preferred to quietly “read the riot act” as he did to the Inspector General of Police when the Benue attacks began.
He disclosed that he even shared the IGP’s security report on the Benue crisis with Senators George Akume and Barnabas Gemade from the state.
He appealed to leaders of various groups in the state to convince their constituents that the Federal Government was doing its best to end the recurring attacks by armed herdsmen in various parts of the country.