Factsheet: Federal Response To The Attacks And Killings By Herdsmen In Benue And Other States
Insinuations and allegations that the attacks and killings are happening because President Buhari is Fulani are both unkind and incorrect. These attacks long predated the Buhari Government. In 2013 no fewer than nine cases of herdsmen attacks were recorded in Benue State alone, with more than 190 people killed. In 2014 there were no fewer than 16 recorded attacks, in Benue, which claimed more than 230 victims. Between January and May 2015, six attacks left more than 300 people dead, again in Benue State alone: See here and here for examples.
This historical context is important for a proper understanding of the issue, and to avoid unnecessarily politicizing what should be regarded and dealt with as acts of criminality. These attacks have been a longstanding issue, and successive governments have struggled to contain the situation.
The Buhari Administration is more than fully committed to bringing the cycle of violence to an end, prosecuting the attackers, and preventing further killings and attacks. The security agencies have standing instructions to arrest and prosecute any and all persons found with illegal arms.
The recent killings in Benue and Taraba States have elicited the following Federal responses:
1. President Buhari has met with the Governor of Benue State on the matter, to assure him of the Federal Government’s commitment to protecting farmers and communities.
2. President Buhari has directed the Inspector General of Police to relocate to Benue State.
3. On Monday January 8, 2018, the Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau, convened a security meeting on the issue, bringing together Federal and State government officials: Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Heads of security agencies, and the Governors of the most affected States: Adamawa, Benue, Kaduna, Nasarawa, and Taraba.
4. On Wednesday January 10, 2018, the IG held a Stakeholders engagement with the Benue State Government, elders, community, religious and traditional leaders etc
5. Since the first week of January, immediately following the January 1 attacks, the Inspector General of Police has deployed the following to the affected areas:
· Ten (10) Units of PMF
· Police Special Forces
· Counter Terrorism Units
· Conventional Policemen.
· Police Explosive Ordinance Department (EOD)
· Special Police Joint Intelligence and Investigation Teams
· Police Aerial Surveillance Teams (Police Helicopters)
6. The Nigerian Army has deployed Special Forces to Benue, Taraba, and Nasarawa States.
7. In Benue State, eight (8) suspected herdsmen are in Police custody over the recent killings, and are currently being prosecuted.
8. The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is working to establish cattle colonies across the country, in 2018. These colonies will provide grass and water for the cattle, and education and healthcare facilities for herders. They will also have Agro-Rangers deployed to secure the facilities.