- Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state appeared before the Senate committee on police affairs on Wednesday, February 13
- The governor accused the police IGP of taking sides in the herdsmen killings in Benue and expressed vote of no confidence in him
- The Senate committee, however, assured the governor that it will work without bias to any side so as to find lasting solutions to the crisis in the state
Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state on Wednesday, February 14, accused the inspector general of police, Ibrahim Idris, of bias in the handling of the herdsmen, farmers crisis in the state when he appeared before the Senate committee on police affairs.
The meeting was reportedly held behind closed doors after the opening speech by the chairman of the committee, Senator Abu Ibrahim.
A source that spoke with the Nation newspaper said that Ortom told the committee that the police boss has no business whatsoever in determining whether the anti-open grazing law the state enacted was good or bad.
NAIJ.com gathered that Ortom insisted that the IGP only has the constitutional mandate to uphold and enforce the law as made by the state.
The source said: “Ortom also presented copies of the letters he wrote to security agencies alerting them to the pending attacks.”
The attack, which was eventually launched on January 1st, 2018, claimed over 73 lives in two communities of Logo and Guma.
The police boss had earlier reportedly accused Ortom of making inflammatory statements that further incited violence in the state.
Idris said that by publicly displaying the bodies of the victims of the attacks the governor provoked mayhem and reprisal attacks.
He also accused Governor Ortom of arming Tiv militia and encouraging the proliferation of prohibited small arms and ammunition.
Ortom, however, expressed a vote of no confidence on Idris, whom he accused of taking sides in the crises.
The source said: “The governor’s position is that there is complicity against Benue state in high places, particularly when considering that no action was taken to avert the attacks, and comments credited to the IGP, and the minister of defence, Mansur Dan-Ali. He said that Tiv people are also being attacked in Nassarawa state.”
The source added that Governor Ortom told the committee that the police boss has no constitutional power to determine whether the state’s anti-open grazing law is good or bad.
He said: “In the first place, the IG has no business pronouncing a law as good or bad, his job is to implement the law. He said it was communal crises, not so? But policemen are also being killed by the herders, do the policemen and civil defence men who were murdered have communal issues with the herders? He has taken sides, his men are being killed and he is not saying anything.”
The governor also reportedly said that the IGP did not obey the directives issued by President Muhammadu Buhari that he should relocate to Benue.
“He stayed in Benue for just one day contrary to the orders given to him by the president to relocate to the state,” the governor was quoted to have said.
Earlier in his opening address, the chairman of the committee noted that the invitation of Ortom to address the committee became necessary in order to get his perspective on the submission of the police boss to the committee.
Ibrahim said that there was no basis for the insinuation in some quarters that the committee was biased against or for anybody since the clear mandate of the committee was to find a lasting solution to the lingering clashes and loss of lives and property.
He insisted that the committee was committed to justice, fair play and maintaining the rule of law.
He, therefore, urged the governor to feel free in addressing the committee as members have no position on the matter but only to find ways and means to address the situation in the interest of the country and Benue state in particular.
NAIJ.com previously reported that Governor Ortom appeared before the Senate panel investigating the killings by suspected herdsmen in Benue state.
The investigation was conducted by the joint Senate committee on police affairs; and national security and intelligence.
The panel invited Ortom over his indictment by the inspector general of police, Ibrahim Idris, for alleged culpability in the security crisis in the state.
The Senate had on February 7, rejected the report of its joint committee on police affairs and national security and intelligence on the basis that the state governor, Samuel Ortom, who was mentioned severally in the IGP report was not invited for his side of the story.
Victims of Herdsmen killing buried in Benue State on NAIJ.com TV