President Muhammadu Buhari says he is not aware that Ibrahim Idris, inspector-general of police, did not heed his instruction in Benue state.
Shortly after 73 persons were killed in January following clashes between farmers and herdsmen, Buhari asked Idris to relocate to Benue.
But when he visited the state on Monday, the president was told that Idris did not spend up to 24 hours in the state.
In surprise, Buhari said: “I’m not aware that the I-G did not spend 24 hours in the state as directed by me, I am getting to know in this meeting.”
He also said the meeting was not the best place to expose the inefficiency of his appointees and appealed to the Benue people to exercise restraint and live in peace with their neighbours.
Buhari told the meeting attended by farmers, herdsmen and government officials including senators and members of the house of representatives, that he is doing his best to tackle insecurity in the land.
He denied insinuations that he overlooked the killings that happened in Benue, saying he is genuinely worried over them.
Buhari urged the people to show restraint and allow the security agencies to handle the untenable situation.
“The governor and I, and others here know that we will leave one day, but the relationship between farmers and herders will continue,” he said.
“I urge you to keep in touch with them and advise them to live peacefully. Nigeria has over 250 ethnic groups with different cultures and nobody can question God for putting us together.”
Recalling his civil war era memories with military officers from Benue, he noted that his nostalgic experience with such persons would never allow him to do harm to the state.
On his part, Samuel Ortom, the governor, appealed to the president to upgrade the ongoing military exercise in the state tagged “Ayem A kpatema” to an operation to effectively curb herdsmen attacks.
”If the exercise is upgraded to an operation, it will assist greatly in ending the incessant attacks and senseless killings by herdsmen,” he said
He urged Benue people to exercise restraints and learn to live in peace with other people, stating that many states in the federation were now involved in massive cultivation of rice.
He reiterated his call for the arrest of the leadership of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore for “being responsible for the killings”.
Ortom still maintained that ranching was the best option for cattle breeding in the country.
He also called on the federal government to take over the management of the Benue University Teaching Hospital, College of Education Katsina-Ala and Benue Polytechnic Ugbokolo.
Representative of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Benue Chapter, Shettima Mohammed, denied responsibility for the Benue attacks.
He said the association was peace loving and the exact opposite of its public presentation by government officials.