A cross section of Nigerians on Sunday decried the belated security agencies responses to the killings of innocent Nigerians in Guma and Logo Local Government Area in Benue State by herdsmen and in Omoku in Andoni Local Government Area of Rivers State by alleged cultists.
A relation of one of the victims of the massacre in Guma town, Benue State, Joseph Zakka told the Daily Times that the number of casualties would have been less if security response was timely.
He said that the argument on television by the Assistant Inspector General of Police in Charge of operations at the Force headquarters that the incident occurred in remote villages was untenable because Benue State government had earlier before the attack warmed of threats issued by herdsmen who were opposed to the state anti-grazing law.
According to Zakka , the alarm was a enough signal for any responsive security agency to nip the killings in the bud.
On his part, Martin Aloja, a security consultant said though Police may not wholly be blamed for the killings in Benue, Kaduna and Rivers states, the incidents would have been prevented through intelligence and proper security architecture.
Meanwhile, the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris had at the weekend placed the personnel of the Nigeria Police in Rivers and Benue states as well as other contiguous State commands to the two States on red-alert. He also ordered the police personnel to embark on 24 hours crime prevention and visibility patrols throughout the country.
The IGP further deployed additional five Units of Police Mobile Force, Police Special Forces, Police Aerial Surveillance Helicopters and Special Police Joint Intelligence and Investigation Teams to Benue and Rivers States in an effort to forestall further killings.
A statement by Force Public Relations Officer, CSP Jimoh Moshood said the measures were taken the to nip in the bud and prevent further attacks on innocent Nigerians by suspected herdsmen and other criminal elements.
According to the statement the Inspector General of Police( IGP), Ibrahim K. Idris has ordered Commissioners of Police in charge of Benue, Rivers and other contiguous States to the two States and their Supervising Assistant Inspectors General of Police and their personnel to be on red-alert with immediate effect to nip in the bud and prevent further attacks on innocent Nigerians by suspected herdsmen and other criminal elements in the mentioned States.
He said that the Deputy Inspector General of Police Operations has been dispatched by the IGP to Benue State to muster, coordinate and supervise the implementation of the new security strategies put in place by the Force to put an immediate end to the senseless killings and violence unleashed on innocent Nigerians by suspected herdsmen and other criminal elements in the two States.
Police Aerial Surveillance Helicopters, five Units of Police Mobile Force; Police Special Forces were also deployed along with additional conventional Police Personnel, the Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU), Police Explosive Ordinance Department (EOD) and Special Police Joint Intelligence and Investigation Teams to Benue and Rivers State to work with the Police Personnel on the ground. Force Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department (FCIID) Personnel.
” This is to bring new impetus to the efforts of the Force to nip in the bud further attacks in the mentioned states,” he stated.
In Benue State, eight suspected herdsmen arrested at the scene of the killings are currently being prosecuted; six of them were remanded in Prison custody while the other two suspects arrested at a different scene of crime are being arraigned in court.
While, the Assistant Inspector General of Police in Zone 4 Makurdi and Zone 6 Calabar, have been mandated by the Inspector General of Police to convey Stakeholders meetings in the affected states and also supervise the Police investigation and intelligence teams, and other Police Special Squads deployed by the IGP to the two States
The Police Force calls for calm and support for the police personnel deployed to sustain the normalcy that has been restored in the affected States.
It further implores the people to be vigilant and security conscious by promptly reporting suspicious acts or persons to the nearest Police detachment or station for prompt action to avert untoward incidents.
Andrew Orolua, Abuja.