I have acted on Benue killings, Buhari tells Senate

Chidi Samuel || President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday informed the Senate that he had taken steps to address the killings by herdsmen in Benue state contrary to the Senate accusation that the Presidency has done nothing over the issue.

The President in a letter to the Senate and read on the floor by Senate President, Bukola Saraki, said that it was incorrect to infer that nothing had been done, especially when the police were strenuously working to apprehend the killers.

President Buhari told the lawmakers that in a meeting with Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom, on January 9, the governor was informed of police arrest of some suspects.

According to the President, governor Ortom was informed that the police had been instructed to speed up the trial of the suspects and give wide publicity to their (the police) efforts.

The President said, “To infer therefore that nothing has been done is incorrect. The police are strenuously working to apprehend the rest of the culprits of these heartless killings.”

He told the Senate that the Federal Government was initiating measures to address the Benue killings and other security challenges to alleviate the consequence of the attacks and forestall reoccurrence.

The President’s letter reads, “I thank you for your letter referenced NASS/8S/R/01/33 dated 18th January 2018 and carefully studied the resolutions and comments therein.

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“As I briefed you and the RT. Hon. Speaker when we met, several courses of action have been taken prior to the Senate resolution.

“You may recall that I told you of the following steps taken as soon as the information came to me about the Benue killings.

“One, on Thursday 4th January, I sent the Minister of Interior and the Deputy Inspector-General of Police in charge of Operations for an on-the-spot assessment of the situation.

“Two, on Friday 5th January, the Inspector-General of Police briefed me verbally on the latest situation, calm had then been restored.

“Three, on Monday 8th, the Minister of Interior met with the following: Governors of Adamawa, Kaduna, Niger, Benue Taraba and Nasarawa together with the DG of the State Security Services, Inspector-General of Police, CG Civil Defence, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development and Police Commissioner of the six aforementioned states.

“After the meeting, I instructed the Minister of Interior to brief you on the information gathered so far and steps taken.

“On Tuesday, 9th of January, I had a long session with Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State during which I informed him of police arrest of some suspects with Kalashnikovs. In addition, I told him that I have instructed IGP to speed up trial and prosecution of the suspects and give wide publicity of the police efforts.

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“At the request of the Governor, a meeting was held in the Presidential Villa on 15th January with a wide cross-section of Benue personages where frank and open discussions were held and everybody in the meeting appreciated the complexity and difficulties of this farmers-herders strife. I assured all and sundry of my commitment to ensure that justice is expeditiously done.

“To infer therefore that nothing has been done is incorrect. The police are strenuously working to apprehend the rest of the culprits of these heartless killings.

“Furthermore, I have instructed the IGP to relocate to Benue State and redeploy forces to the most sensitive towns.

“The Federal Government is initiating measures to address these and other security challenges, alleviate the consequence of these attacks and forestall reoccurrence. The Senate resolution itemised in your letter would be taken into consideration and I am instructing all relevant MDAs to factor them in their work.

“On December 19 to be precise, while receiving the report of the committee that was set up to review the technical and administrative structure of the Nigeria Intelligent Agency (NIA), I underscored the need to review the entire national security architecture as I promised in my inaugural address on the 29th May 2015,

“Action is being initiated to receive maximum cooperation from the Senate in line with paragraph three of the Senate resolutions.”