The Benue police command through its commissioner Bashir Makama have disclosed that they will not be going after the killers responsible for the attacks of some villages in the state.
According to Premium Times, Makama said through a phone call that the force is holding back on their chase of suspected killer herdsmen on rampage across the North-Central state, saying they would prioritise an immediate succour and enduring tranquility for the affected communities instead.
The police are concentrating their energy and resources towards a safe return of recently displaced residents to their communities.
“Let there be peace. Let there be calm. Then, the suspects can be followed and arrested.
But anti-open grazing campaigners faulted the police tactics, warning that the comments could fuel speculation that the federal government was colluding with the herdsmen.
An estimated 69 people have been killed in suspected herdsmen attacks on villages in the agrarian Benue State between December 31 and January 8, according to Benue State Government officials.
Fifty-nine of the deceased are slated for a mass burial in a village near the Air Force Base in Makurdi, the state capital on Thursday morning.
The figures include the three officers killed following an ambush on a police patrol team on Monday in Logo Local Government Area, about 200 kilometres east of Makurdi.
The local government was amongst the two local government areas razed down by suspected herdsmen between the New Year eve and New Year day.
An exasperated Governor Samuel Ortom blamed the attacks on herdsmen of Fulani extraction. Mr. Ortom said the leaders of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, an association of cattle breeders, had earlier threatened to attack residents in Benue State, He described them as a “threat to our collective interest” and said “they must be dealt with.”