The Inspector-General of Police Ibrahim Idris has yet to relocate to Benue State, in an apparent affront to President Muhammadu Buhari’s order last month.
In a directive issued on January 9, Mr. Buhari asked Mr. Idris, whom he appointed in June 2016, to move to Benue State to restore order and forestall further attacks on villagers by suspected herdsmen.
The president also emphasised in his January 25 letter to the Senate that he had “instructed the Inspector General of Police to relocate to Benue State” and “redeploy forces to the most sensitive areas.”
The order followed the January 1 killings of over 70 villagers in Logo and Guma Local Government Areas of the state, a development that sparked nationwide outrage and calls for a new approach to the killings linked to farmer-herdsmen crisis across central Nigeria.
The president asked Mr. Idris to focus on the farmers-herders attacks in Benue, Nasarawa, Taraba, Adamawa and Kaduna States. Each of these states has witnessed repeated attacks in recent weeks.
Mr. Idris initially obeyed the president’s order and arrived Makurdi, the state capital, on January 10, meeting with Governor Samuel Ortom on January 11.
But the Inspector-General spent only three days touring the state, including holding talks with Benue political and religious leaders and visiting camps of the internally displaced persons in Logo Local Government Area.
Subsequently, the IG left the state for Nasarawa, drawing criticism from Benue residents that he was disobeying the president’s order by abandoning Benue, which is the epicentre of the deadly violence.
But Mr. Idris’ stay in Nasarawa was also short-lived, it was learnt. The police chief departed the state after about four days and returned to Abuja, where he has remained ever since.
Mr. Ortom said Nigeria’s security challenges are enormous and the Inspector-General is only one man who could not be expected to concentrate in one part of the country.
Mr. Buhari issued a similar order to the Chief of Army Staff Tukur Buratai in 2015, asking the military chief to relocate to Borno State, the epicentre of the Boko Haram onslaught.
Mr. Buratai has remained at the theatre of operations since then. He only visits the Army headquarters in Abuja when necessary, for meetings or administrative tasks, but “most of the time, he’s in Maiduguri,” a military chief said Thursday night, corroborating our independent findings.
But Mike Ejiofor, a security analyst, said there’s no rationale for the Inspector-General to remain in Benue or anywhere else in the crisis-ridden north-central.
“I don’t think it’s reasonable for him to remain there and leave all his administrative work at the headquarters,” said Mr. Ejiofor, a former director at the State Security Service.
Mr. Ejiofor said the DIG Operations that was kept in Benue is enough to coordinate the activities of police in the area, saying the relocation of military chiefs to Borno State had no significant impact on the overall success of military tactics against insurgents.
“I think we should be realistic,” he added.