By Lateef Adegbite
When Samuel ortom, a former minister of Trade and Industries, during the Administration of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, of the Opposition People’s Democraatic Party, PDP, and now governor of Benue state, north central Geo-political region, called on the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari, who incidentally is a retired army General to act now before it is too late to track and arrest the suspected armed herdsmen at Tyo- Mu, along the Makurdi –Gboko road who had at on Saturday, March 20, 2021, the Katsina state born Nigerian President became convinced that all is not well in the country.
He was said to have directed Mohammed Adamu, the Inspector General of Police, IGP, to send a Crack team of Investigators to the state immediately to fish out the culprits for Prosecution as a deterrence to others. Acting on the Presidential directive, the IGP, was said to have deployed a high level team of Crack Investigators from the Force Criminal Investigations Department, FCID, , Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, to Markurdi, the Benue state Capital,’’ to start the investigation process.
Not many people were surprised that the Nigerian President took the Ortom’s advice serious to avoid throwing the country into country into chaos as temper had reached feverish height in the state.t The Benue state governor had earlier urged the retired army Generneral to do use his powers to fish out the Criminals who he had said are ‘’living in the forest between Markurdi and Abinse ‘’, noting ‘’they run across the river in the state and equally run out when ‘’they want to Commit atrocities-rape women, kill or main innocent people’’, insisting that ‘’they should be made to face the full wrath of the Law’’.
Given the importance attached to the case, Adamu, the IGP, had said that the Abuja based Crack detectives will work closely with the local Investigations team that had been set up by Bishi Omololu, the state Commissioner of Police. The Police Commissioner, according to Frank Mbah, a Deputy Commissioner of Police , had directed the north central state Police boss, ‘’to carry out a thorough investigations to the planned attack on the governor by the suspected armed herdsmen and ensure the arrest of the Criminal elements and the Prosecution of persons indicted in the course of the Investigations’’.
The governor may have given a clue to the FCID, Crack detectives on how to get the armed herdsmen attackers who were said to be 15 in number . he had confirmed that they trailed him to the river bank where he was on foot with the intention ‘’to eliminate him in his own Land’’. He was said to have pointed accusing finger on the Leadership of Miyeti Cattle Breders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, for coming out to target him behind the scene at their recent meeting at Yola, Capital of Taraba, home state of Theophilous Danjuma, a retired army General and former minister of Defence, during the Administration of erstwhile President Olusegun Obasanjo.
It is instructive to note that the Nigeria President may have won the heart of Ortom and the people of the Benue over the ongoing investigations of attack on him by suspected armed herdsmen. Appaling to the IGP, that’’there should be a transparent investigation into the incident and that whoever is linked to the attack on him should be arrested and be made to face the Law, he opined that it is the only way the report of the FCID, investigations team will enjoy widespread support.
The attack on the Benue state governor by the suspected herdsmen may have put the security Chiefs on their toes as Bashir Magashi, a retired army Major General , had said that Nigeria is in a ‘’critical situation’’. The minister who spoke during at a national security and defence summit at the National Defence College on Monday, March 22, 2021, had cited the insurgency in the north eastern states of Adamawa, Atiku Abubakar, a former Vice President and Presidential Candidate of the PDP, in the 2019, Presidential elections home state, Borno and Yobe.
Thi is in addition to the Banditry in the north western states of Zamfara, which had been declared as a No Fly Zone, by the Nigeria President as a way to contain the activities of the Bandits in the area, Katsina, Buhari home state and Kaduna, where Nasir El-Rufai, the state governor and Samuel Aruwan, the Commissioner For Internal and Home Affairs as well as the security Operatives are still battling to secure the release of the 39 students of the Federal College of Forestry Mechanisation , Afaka in Igabi Local government area which could be assessed from the Mando –Kaduna Airport road.
The minister who could not hide his feelings had said that the security situation in the country now requires’’the understanding, buy-in, support and collaboration of all stakeholders and other key players in the national task, stressing the imperative of adopting kinetic measures to address the security Challenges .
Worried that the high level of insecurity in the country has both forward and backward linkages to different shades of national security which may lead ‘’to political instability, economic under-development and social inequalities’’, the minister had called for support from the Civilian populace and other major stakeholders to restore normalcy in the country.
Going down the memory lane, he had said that that the country has been battling insurgency in the north east states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe , for more than a decade, noting that over 36,000 people had been killed and thousands of other people displaced in their homes.
An aggrieved Magashi had said that the Islamic state of West African Province, ISWAP, a splinter group of the Islamic Fundamentalist group, BokoHaram, whose fighters had dominated the lake Chad region, which borders Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon, has become a major threat to the country, attacking troops and military bases in Borno and Yobe states .
He noted that the ISWAP fighters have also been involved in kidnapping passengers at bogus military checkpoints in the two north east states. He had cited the March Ist, 2021, attack in Dikwa Local government area in which the IWAP, fighters had ‘’burnt down a United Nation’s Humanitarian Compound in Dikwa, the Local government Area , Headquarters’.
He was said to have rationalized the establishment of the Multi-national Joint Task Force, MNJTF, which is a regional military Coalition, to fight the insurgency in the north east states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, which has spread to the West African countries of Chad and, Niger, including the Central African country of Cameroon.
The recent Controversy surrounding the spending of the $1billion arms fund for the purchase of arms, ammunitions and other related hardware for the security agencies , including its use and control, may have informed why the House of Representatives ad-hoc Committee on Security had invited Godwin Emefiele, the governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, and Ibrahim Atthahiru, a Lt. General and Chief of Army Staff, CAS, to appear before it in April, to shed more light relating to the purchase of the arms and ammunitions.
The raging storm over the spending of the spending of the $1 billion, arms fund, may have forced the Authorities to come out with an information that six of the 12 Tucano fighter aircrafts purchased with part of the arms fund will be delivered in mid- July 2021, while the remaining six, will be delivered shortly after.
Garba Shehu, a Senior Special Assistant , SSA, to the Nigerian President on Media and Publicity, had tweeted last Thursday that the optimism for the supply of the fighter aircrafts was informed by the fact that the North American country of the United States government had in 2018 awarded a $329million Foreign Military Sales Contract, to build the 12 A-29s , Tucano aircrafts for the Nigerian Air Force. Given an insider information on the extent of work done on the fighter aircrafts, he disclosed that they have come off the production line in Jackson ville Florida and are now being equipped and flight tested. He further disclosed that there are already fourteen Nigerian Air Force pilots currently being trained at Moody Air Force base in Georgia, a City in the US, an indication that the BokoHaram and ISWAP, fighters are introuble.
Moreso,pressure are also on Buhari, the retired army General to follow up the discussions with the United Arab Emirate, UAE, government from where Magashi, the minister of Defence, who had initiated talks on the matter with the country’s Ambassador to Nigeria to facilitate the release of the detained Nigerian arms, ammunition and other related hardwares that had alrady been purchased to the Counter-terrorism war and Banditry in the north eastern regions of the country.
Until the detained arms and ammunition are released from UAE, Lt. General Atthahiru led Nigerian soldiers will continue to complain of dearth of weapons to prosecute the insurgency war in the north east and or effectively deal with the Bandits in the north west states.