Alhaji Abubakar Tsav, Public Complaints Commissioner (PCC), overseeing Benue, has urged the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Alhaji Ibrahim Idris, to intervene toward halting the rising incidences of assassination in the state.
Tsav, former Commissioner of Police in Lagos State, in a letter written to the IGP, recalled seven high profile assassinations in the last two years, and particularly regretted that none had been resolved.
“Insecurity is on the rise in Benue; people are being killed, but none of the cases has been investigated and the killers brought to book. We want you to act quickly to check these killings,” he stated.
The six-page letter was copied to the Chief of Staff to the President, Mr Abba Kyari, and the National Security Adviser, retired Gen. Mohammed Babagana Monguno.
In it, Tsav listed victims of the assassinations to include elder statesman and politician, Mr Atoza Hindan, who was killed in Katsina-Ala, Dr. Tondo, from University of Mkar, and Mr Denen Iggana, Senior Special Assistant (Security) to Gov. Samuel Ortom.
Also killed, Tsav noted, were Dr. Tavershima Adyorough, Principal Special Assistant to the Governor on Knowledge Economy and Investment, and two traditional rulers in Katsina-Ala.
“Benue people are worried about the killings, but they are afraid to say anything; they are afraid of being targeted for murder.
“Out of fear, even the Tiv Traditional Council has said nothing about the murder of the two chiefs. Everyone is quiet and in fear.
“Journalists are also in fear. Some of them have been assaulted, arrested and detained for writing the truth. The Police must move in to restore public confidence so that people can enjoy the fruits of democracy,” he said.
Tsav, however, commended the Police Commissioner in Benue, Mr Bashir Makama, over his honesty and commitment to duty, but alleged that he was not getting the support required from the state government.
The former police commissioner particularly chided the Benue government for establishing the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF), alleging that the group was being used as a “rival” to the regular Police.
“`Such group ought to be placed under the regular Police Force to complement the security network, but it has been positioned as a rival, which is working against the crucial need to cooperate toward one goal.
“Members of the CJTF are armed by the state government. We feel that such situations could lead to the proliferation of small arms in wrong hands,” he said.
Reacting, Col. Edwim Jando, Special Adviser to Benue Governor on Security, dismissed Tsav as “a liar, who knows nothing about what is happening in Benue.
“Gov. Ortom’s administration did not establish CJTF; we met it and have already disbanded and replaced it with `Livestock Guards’.
“Tsav writes just anything he wants and all he says is not true.
“I don’t want to discuss Tsav; the entire security operatives in the state are under my supervision. I coordinate them and will not want anybody to spoil my name,” he said.
Also reacting to Tsav’s letter, the Police Command in Benue said that it was doing everything possible to halt the assassinations and also track down those involved.
“There have, indeed, been several killings in the past, but we have arrested and arraigned a serving commissioner, an adviser to the governor, local government chairman and several politicians in connection with them.
“It is not right for anyone to say that we are not investigating the killings. We cannot sweep such high profile incidences under the carpet,” Mr Moses Yamu, the Public Relations Officer (PPRO), told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday in Makurdi.
He, however, explained that crime was not peculiar to any state or administration, pointing out that there was no society that was ever crime free. (NAN)