Benue group, Military bicker over alleged compromise

A group known as ‘Idoma National Youth Forum’ has called on federal government to replace the military personnel with mobile police at Umogidi, Entekpa council ward of Adoka district of Otukpo local government area of Benue State.

President of the group, Adakole Inalegwu Daniel, who made the appeal on Wednesday in Makurdi  also called for the withdrawal of men of Operation Whirl Stroke deployed to the area alleging that they had compromised.

Daniel said that the call was necessary considering the recent attack on the community where about 54 people were killed within two days and continuous influx of herdsmen to the neighbouring communities.

Relieving the recent attacks on the community, Daniel said that he lost 27 close relations, adding that since the last attack in April, 2023,  people of the eight villages made up of the council ward still live in fear.

He said, “We are really suffering in the hands of the Fulani herdsmen, personally I lost about 27 close relations to this attack. Even the LG chairman lost a son during the incident.

“And to make matters worse, we don’t have any working police post or security outfit within 15km radius of our village. One of the two policemen posted to cover the council ward of 8 villages was killed during the attack.

“We prefer that the Nigeria Police, the Mopol 13 squad will be deployed to Umogidi to come to our aide, instead of having the herdsmen in the disguise of men of OPWS.

“The overflow of Herdsmen from Agatu, Apa and Gwer West have made the entire Entekpa council  ward unsafe.

“So, as the President, Idoma Youth Forum and as a citizen and indegene of Umogidi, I am very pained; I am angry with the Nigeria military, especially Operation Whirl Stroke that they are not helping us. Their presence is doing us more harm than good. We wish they could do more.

“We call on the Federal Government and every well-meaning Nigerian to please come to the aid of the Umogidi people, Otukpo people, Idoma people and the people of Benue state at large.

“We are living in the open. Our youths are working tirelessly to see how we can help ourselves by restoring peace in the area. And even in our time of grief we still pray that God will salvage Nigeria.”

But In a swift reaction, the force commander, Operation Whirl Stroke, Major General Sunday Igbinomwanhia, faulted the claim of the leader of the group, saying that the troops will continue to work assiduously to ensure security in its joint operations area of Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba States.

Major General Igbinomwanhia described the allegations as spurious to frustrate the efforts of the military and other security agencies in their effort to secure the citizenry from marauding bandits who have no regards to rule of law or respect for law of armed conflict.

He said, “They (group) should be careful not to fall into the plans of the criminals who want to discredit the Force by wearing our type of outfits to commit crime.

“The bandits and other criminals however live within the populace, consequently we continue to appeal to our good people to play their role in this all important task of securing our communities and our Nation by providing the needed support to the Force in form of information and not to maliciously castigate them and inadvertently appear to be supporting the criminals and our collective enemies.

“No member of the Force will turn their weapons on the people they have sworn to protect. We acknowledge isolated cases of individual personnel engaging in activities not sanctioned by the Force, such individual are quickly identified and immediately weeded out, using our very stern military justice system.”


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