In a bid to prevent further outbreak of violence between Fulani herdsmen and Tiv farmers, the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, has approved the immediate deployment of four units of riot policemen from the Force Headquarters in Abuja to Benue State.
The policemen, numbering about 600, are expected to contain the perennial communal clashes between the herdsmen and farmers that has claimed hundreds of lives, particularly in Guma Local Government Area of the state. Many more have been displaced from their homes.
Abubakar announced this on Monday in Abuja, before he went into a closed-door meeting with Assistant Inspectors-General of Police to review the security situations in states having communal crisis.
The IG listed Benue, Plateau, Taraba, Kaduna and part of Zamfara as some of the states in the North, where there are communal clashes, mostly between Fulani herdsmen and farmers.
He said, “As I am talking to you today (Monday), I have four units of mobile policemen right from the headquarters, inside the bush in Benue.
“They are being led by the Deputy Inspector-General of Police (operations) and Commissioner of Police (Mobile Force). They are protecting those innocent people”.
The country’s number one cop identified difficult terrain, delay in getting information due to network problem and lack of police presence in those areas as some of the challenges confronting security agencies in tackling the clashes.
“These attacks take place inside the bush. Most of the people attacked are in the villages, and sometimes, some of the difficult areas we encounter are the terrain of the places.
“Secondly, information comes to the police very late because of network situation. Remember, most of these places, if you check, there is no existence of police station or posts. So, the commissioner of police in respective commands has to grapple with how to take policemen to such place and how they will remain permanently”, he said.