Less than a week after the clash between Fulani herdsmen and Agatu people of Benue State, the Inspector-General of Police, Solomon Arase, has faulted the killings saying the casualty figure reported was blown out of proportion.
It should be recalled that during a recent clash between the Agatu people of Benue State and their Fulani counterparts, it was said that 300 people including children and pregnant women were reportedly killed by the Fulani herdsmen and 7,000 others were said to have been displaced.
The battle between the Fulani and the Agatu was said to have started after 10,000 herds of cattle belonging to the Fulani were allegedly killed.
The IGP who came on a one-day visit to address officers and men of the Niger Police Command in Minna, said, ”I was around, I travelled to Benue State, I did not see where 300 people were buried.”
He said “If you kill, you don’t just bury; you must take the corpse to the police station before you bury, we don’t have that number of people.”
Arase added that the police high command had completed arrangement to check the incidence of cattle rustling around the country, adding that the police would next week start what he called ‘Metro patrol’ designed to arrest cattle rustlers.
Accordingly, he said “the police force would not allow criminals to take over the states and the country. Everything will be done to bring crime rate to the barest minimum.”
The IGP disagreed with those who have said crime rate in Nigeria was very high asking such people to study crime rate in South Africa, the United States of America and some other countries before making their conclusions.
Arase directed the immediate withdrawal of policemen from politicians, saying that only “high risk ones (politicians) should be allowed to have orderlies.