It appears that the consensus among Pres. Muhammadu Buhari’s Security Council is that the blame for the recent Benue killings lies with the Benue state government which passed an anti-grazing law.
The minister of defence, Mansur Dan-Ali expressed that opinion two weeks ago. And now, the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, has also expressed same.
It is important to note that President Buhari’s security council is dominated by members of the Fulani ethnic group, raising questions about their impartiality and ability to assimilate diverse view points.
Thisday is reporting details of the meeting between Idris and the Senator Abu Ibrahim led Committee on Police Affairs which lasted for about two hours. Although the IG did not speak to the press after the meeting, the paper quoted an unnamed senator who was part of the meeting in its report.
- According to IGP Idris: The crisis has its origin in the anti-open grazing law implemented by the Benue State Government. (That does not explain the killings in states like Nasarawa, Plateau and Adamawa which do not have an anti-grazing law in place).
- Idris said there is heightened tension in Benue presently because of the open display of the casualties of the attacks, inciting statements by the Governor Samuel Ortom, and the arming of militia groups in the state. (It is unclear what Idris meant by open display of casualties, but he may have been referring to the mass burial conducted for the victims by the state government.)
- The police boss recommended that the state should suspend its anti-open grazing law, pending when it would provide ranches for the herdsmen, and then gradually reintroduce the implementation of the law.
- He also advocated that cattle routes be re-opened, in addition to disarming armed militia groups and dialogue among all stakeholders.