.Says he never knew Idris moved to Nasarawa instead of Benue
.Accuses IGP of being slow in use of intelligence, resources
.President: We’ll do our best to solve farmers, herdsmen crises
In what can be referred to as unprecedented and one of his harsh words since coming to power in 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari has disclosed that he is not aware that the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr. Ibrahim Idris, defied his directives to relocate to Benue State while the IGP only spent only few days in the state and moved on to Nasarawa State.
Buhari made the startling revelation on Monday during his condolence visit to the state and a meeting with some stakeholders at the Government House in Makurdi, the state capital.
The Daily Times recalls that following a coordinated attacks by alleged Fulani herdsmen in some villages in Benue State in which about 74 people were killed, President Buhari had on January 9, ordered the IGP to immediately relocate to the state to restore law and order and prevent further loss of lives and properties from escalating and spreading.
Although Idris obeyed the President’s directive, he reportedly left Benue State for Nasarawa State.
Addressing stakeholders at the Government House in Makurdi, the President said he is just learning of the alleged noncompliance by the IGP but as a loyal leader, he will engage the IGP for inquires upon his return to Abuja.
The President said: “What I did was to call him (the IGP) and give him the directive. I didn’t know he moved here (Benue State) and didn’t spend … and then moved to Nasarawa. It’s only now that I am knowing that. But I know I dispatched him here.”
Buhari made the explanation, following demands by Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom that the IGP should steer clear of partisan politics as a Police Chief and desist from holding an opinion on which law to implement or not.
But Buhari further stated that as a leader, loyalty is very important, saying that as a President, he operates with the watchword.
According to him, the IGP is slow in using the intelligence and resources available to him but as a loyal leader, all he did was give the directive to the IGP instead of publicly exposing his incompetence.
Meanwhile, President Buhari has appealed to leaders of various groups in Benue State to convince their constituents that the Federal Government is doing its best to end the recurring attacks by armed herdsmen in various parts of the country.
Responding to remarks by various stakeholders during a Town Hall meeting in Government House, Makurdi, on Monday, the President also urged them to show restraint and allow the security agencies to handle the untenable situation.
He said: “The governor and I, and others here know that we will leave one day, but the relationship between farmers and herders will continue. I urge you to keep in touch with them and advise them to live peacefully. Nigeria has over 250 ethnic groups with different cultures and nobody can question God for putting us together.”
Buhari while noting that he was not in the habit of publicly rebuking his appointees as many would desire, said that he preferred to quietly “read the riot act” as he did to the IGP when the Benue attacks began.
The President also disclosed that he even shared the IGP’s security report on the Benue crisis with Senators George Akume and Barnabas Gemade from the state.
Recalling his Civil War era memories with military officers from Benue State, he noted that his nostalgic experience with such persons would never allow him to do harm to the state.
President Buhari, while thanking God for the good rains, the successful efforts of the Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, an indigene of Benue State, whom he described as “a great asset in my government,” said his administration would continue to empower farmers with loans by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Expressing delight that the agricultural policy of his administration has led to 90 per cent reduction in rice importation, he commended Ebonyi, Lagos, Kebbi, Jigawa and Benue states for “doing extremely well.”
Reacting to what he called a “shopping list” by some stakeholders, the President urged them to pray for the economy to improve, noting that he would not make any promises during this trip. He, however, stressed that, “When coming back on campaign, if coming back on campaign, I may promise.”
Governor Samuel Ortom thanked President Buhari for visiting and listening patiently to the representatives of socio-cultural groups, farmers, herdsmen, national and state legislators, former leaders and elder statesmen, among others, describing him as “a father known for his integrity and fight for justice.”
Noting that the attacks by armed herdsmen predated the current administration, the governor said the recent attacks had displaced 170,000 people with children of school age constituting 60 per cent.
He called for support for ranching, compensation for victims of the attacks and rebuilding of destroyed houses and farms, as well as the upgrading of the current military exercise to a “military operation.”
Governor Ortom also appealed to the Federal Government to fix some major roads in the state and take over the state polytechnic and college of education among other demands.