minister of information and culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has dismissed insinuations that herdsmen masterminded the killing of over twenty persons in Benue State.
The police boss described the incident as ‘mere communal crisis.’
Addressing State house correspondents after Friday’s juma’at service at the presidential villa mosque, Lai disclosed that, “an approval has been given by the presidency to deploy more police personnel to the troubled states especially Benue and Nasarawa.”
According to him, “Obviously it is communal crisis; herdsmen are part of the community. They are Nigerians and are part of the community; are they not?”
He said he was at the State House to meet with the President on how to have effective policing in the country even as he said that the allegation that there was breakdown of law and order in the country was not true.
On the reason for his meeting with the President, Lai said, “You know any time we meet Mr. President you know the area of discussion is how to have effective security of the nation.”
Speaking on what he was doing about Benue following the alleged attacks on two council areas of the state by the herdsmen, he said, “You know I deployed my DIG there yesterday (Thursday) and you know we have different stages of police.
“You have the AIG in Benue, Commissioner of Police in Benue and all of them are putting their heads together to see how we address this issue of community problems in Benue.”
The IGP who debunked the allegation that the country was under siege as a result of insecurity, said, “Obviously I think Nigeria is well secured you have to be frank with us.”
When asked the reason why herdsmen killings were escalating in parts of the country, he replied, “Like I said, you know we have different levels of Police in this country. We have the Commissioner of Police in Benue, the AIG of Police in Benue.
“Yesterday (Thursday) I deployed my DIG operations there and definitely we are doing all we can to see we maintain law and order in all parts of the country.”
On the accusation that Police has been reactionary rather than proactive to stop the killings, the Police boss said, “Let’s use the example of Benue, you know most of these states where you have several languages, you know is an issue of communal misunderstanding.
“I think what we should be praying for is for Nigerians to learn to live in peace with one another, I think is very important.”
Recall that on January 2, herdsmen allegedly opened fire on residents in Akor Village in Guma Local Government Area of the state, leaving over 20 persons, including a pregnant woman dead.