Ultimatum on Benue killings : Senate summons IGP

Twenty-four hours after the expiration of an ultimatum given to Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr. Ibrahim Idris, to arrest perpetrators of recent killings in Benue State, the Senate yesterday ordered its Committee on Police Affairs to summon him (IGP).

At the same time, President Muhammadu Buhari faulted the legislators over claims that his administration did not do enough to tackle killings in Benue State and other parts of the country.

In his letter, dated January 25, 2018, but acknowledged by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki on Tuesday, Buhari claimed the police was working to apprehend all the culprits of the heartless killings.

The resolution of the Senate followed a point of order, raised by Joshua Lidani from Gombe State, drawing the attention of his colleagues to what he described as the refusal of the IGP to execute its resolution.

The Senate, had on Tuesday, January 16, mandated the IGP, to within two weeks, arrest and investigate the masterminds of the mass killings in Benue State. It warned the IGP not to flout its decision.

At the expiration of the ultimatum on Tuesday, the IGP was yet to announce the arrest of any culprits.

Saraki noted: “When we passed the ultimatum it was of great concern by some of us that such a resolution of this chamber must be taken seriously. It goes beyond the two-week ultimatum. The integrity of the institution must be taken seriously.

“The Senate Committee on Police and Intelligence should summon the IG to come before you by tomorrow (today) to make an explanation on where we are on this two-week ultimatum. This committee should report to us by Tuesday on where we are.

“We must make it clear to the security agencies that those kind of ultimatums cannot be taken lightly. If by Tuesday we are not happy with their report, we can take a decision to summon the IG.

“If they think we are just going to sweep this thing under the carpet, the answer is definitely no. We are not going to stop until people are made accounted.

“Like President Buhari said in his letter, he has told the IG to ensure speedy prosecution and we are not seeing that. The IG knows that he needs to take this seriously.”

However, Buhari in his letter insisted: “To infer therefore that nothing has been done, is incorrect.”

He also hinted that plans were underway to restructure and decentralise the country’s security apparatus:

“On December 19, 2017, while receiving the report of the committee set up to review the technical and administrative structure of the national intelligence agencies, 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 the resolutions you forwarded to me.”

Buhari revealed that he had already ordered the IGP to speed up efforts and bring perpetrators of the massacre in Benue State to justice:

“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 consequences of these attacks and forestall reoccurrence.

“The senate resolution itemised in your letter would be taken into consideration and I am instructing all relevant ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to factor them in their work.

“As I briefed you (Saraki) and the 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.

“On Thursday, January 4, 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.

“On Friday, January 5, the IGP briefed me verbally on the latest situation and that calm had then been restored.

“On Monday 8, the Minister of Interior met with the governors of Adamawa, Kaduna, Niger, Benue, Taraba and Nasarawa states together with the Director-General of the State Security Services (DSS), IGP, Comptroller-General of Civil Defence Corps, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development and police commissioners 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.”