• Senate rejects biased panel report on Benue killings
• Army begins crackdown in troubled states
• Swiss govt worried about herdsmen, farmers clashes
The House of Representatives yesterday unanimously called for the immediate sacking of the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris. The resolution followed the adoption of a motion by Abubakar Nuhu Danburam (APC, Kano) at a plenary presided over by Speaker Yakubu Dogara.Danburam had alleged that the IGP, in cahoots with the Kano State Commissioner of Police, Rabiu Yusuf, turned a blind eye to the spate of thuggery in the state.
The ensuing debate, however, pitted the supporters of Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, former Kano State governor, and his successor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, against one another before the House turned the heat on the IGP, adopting an amendment proposed by John Dyegh (APC, Benue).Dyegh said the House needed to prevail on President Muhammadu Buhari to sack the IGP, alleging the police boss ignored the directive to relocate to Benue State in the wake of attacks by herdsmen.
He claimed that the IGP not only ignored intelligence report indicating where the herdsmen were camped, but also chose to stay in neighbouring Nasarawa State for unknown reasons. He called for the appointment of a “professional “ IGP able to discharge duties effectively.
Dyegh’s motion was seconded by Ali Sani Madaki (APC, Kano) who had earlier accused the IGP and Yusuf of trampling on the constitutional rights of members of the Kwankwasiyya group to freedom of association and movement. Madaki particularly cited the refusal to allow Kwankwaso hold a rally on January 31, 2018.
But the Chief Whip of the House, Alhassan Ado Doguwa (APC, Kano) and Abdullahi Mahmoud Gaya (APC, Kano), both members of the Gandujiyya movement in their state, described the claims by Damburam and Madaki as misleading and mischievous.Doguwa explained that the Kwankwasiyya rally coincided with the one by the Kano APC chapter which had the approval of the state police authorities.Before passing the vote of no confidence in the IGP, the House adopted a motion sponsored by Mark Tersee Gbillah (PDP, Benue).
Gbillah demanded an unreserved apology from the IGP over disparaging remarks by Police Spokesperson, Jimoh Moshood, against the Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom, during a television programme.The House urged the police authorities to strip Moshood of his role. The spokesperson had described Ortom’s position on the clashes between farmers and herdsmen as the action of a “drowning man”.
Emmanuel Agbonayinma (APC, Edo), however, faulted calls for the IGP’s sacking. He told journalists: “Rumours cannot give us the right opinion. It is wrong to take a decision after hearing from one side of the divide.”
Also yesterday, the Senate rejected a report by its Committee on Police Affairs detailing failings of the Nigeria Police at curbing killings in Benue and other states.It asked the committee to withdraw the report, do a more objective investigation, and submit its findings within one week.
The Senate was particularly unhappy that the committee failed to get Ortom’s views, even after it had met Idris, who spoke against Ortom.While presenting the report, Senator Abu Ibrahim, an APC member from Buhari’s home state of Katsina, highlighted the IGP’s “achievements” on the crisis, saying they deserved commendation.
The report notes partly: “The Nigeria Police is grossly underfunded. Therefore, it is recommended that a percentage of excess crude oil fund should be made available through appropriation to the police in order to beef up their operations.”It called on politicians and opinion leaders to desist from statements capable of inciting violence, and recommended the disarming of all armed militias in Benue State and in the country.
Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, pointed out the defects in the report, saying: “I didn’t see where the committee made an effort to speak with the governor of Benue. This is sad because if in the circumstance they did not interview the governor and his name has been mentioned in respect of certain statements and actions, it would only be fair to him, to be invited by the committee to state his own side of the story, so that we have a balanced view of what transpired.”
Senator (and former Benue State governor) George Akume, also noted: “This report would have been more rounded if the governor who has been so massively accused by the IGP was also invited to make input.”The Nigerian Army, meanwhile, has announced it would begin a new operation in Benue, Taraba, Nasarawa, Kaduna, Kogi and Niger States.Tagged: “Exercise Ayem Akpatuma” (Tiv Language) or “Cat Race”, it would hold Thursday, February 15, to Saturday, March 31, 2018.
At a press briefing in Abuja, yesterday, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, said the exercise would target killer herdsmen, cattle rustlers, armed bandits, kidnappers, armed militias and other criminal elements.The COAS refrained from saying the exercise was a presidential directive. Emphasis would be placed on raids, cordon and search operations, anti-kidnapping drills, roadblocks, checkpoints, show of force and humanitarian activities, he said.
He enjoined citizens of the affected states not to panic, adding that governors have been put on notice.The Army Chief who was represented by the Chief of Training and Operations, Army Headquarters, Major General David Ahmadu, said other participants are the Department of State Service, the Nigeria Police Force, the Nigerian Immigration Service, the Nigerian Security and the Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).Still on insecurity, the Swiss government expressed worry about the incessant clashes between farmers and herdsmen in the country.
The Regional Advisor on Migration and Development under the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Fabrice Fretz, spoke on the sidelines of the First Quarter Coordination meeting of the Technical Working Group (TWG) on “Migration: Post 2017 National Migration Dialogue” in Abuja.He said: “Herders and farmers clash is certainly a thing of concern to the Swiss government and we are partnering Nigeria on this issue.”