Health and Safety

Uncertainty Trails Nigerian Army Continued Stay in Troubled States

Communities in the troubled States of Benue, Kogi and Taraba have cried out over the absence of soldiers in their communities despite the assurance by the Nigerian Army that the operation which is slated to end by March 31 is to be extended by another two months.

These states have been under immense attack by Fulani Herdsmen and the situation has degenerated since the absence of the soldiers in the last few days leading to the initial end of the operation cat race in the North Central part of Nigeria with the casualty figure hitting up to 200 dead persons.

Terkura Suswam, founder of Ashi Polytechnic and a community leader in Anyiin, Logo Local Government Area. “I have been to their base in Chembe more than three times within the past one week but no single soul was there anymore.”

Mr Suswam, brother of former Governor Gabriel Suswam, said the perceived duplicity of the Nigerian security agencies had made it difficult for the locals to trust the government in the herdsmen crisis.

The residents fear that their communities could be overrun in the coming days if no immediate security measures are put in place. This is also because the police had in February withdrawn special forces previously operating in the areas before soldiers were deployed.

The attacks in Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba have sent hundreds of thousands fleeing from their communities, with many putting up at dozens of camps for internally displaced persons scattered across the region.

Mr Suswam said the situation could get worse in the coming weeks when the raining season begins and the killers would take refuge in overgrown bushes and forests.

Mr Abdulraheem said several communities are now left exposed, urging security agencies to consider the plight of the locals.

He also identified five communities where he believed those coming to kill people in his local government are hiding.

“Oboro, Omavi, Ohoupe, Oboroke and Eikaohizenyi towards Ajaokuta are the hideouts of the attackers,” Mr Abdulraheem said. “The security agencies should comb all these areas for residents to ensure a lasting peace for the residents.”

Residents in Donga LGA in Taraba also said soldiers are no longer patrolling their communities.

John Agim, a spokesperson for the Defence Headquarters, would only confirm that the exercise had been extended.

“The exercise was extended and that is all I could say for now,” Mr. Agim, a brigadier-general, said by telephone Friday night.

be around to carry out their statutory duties of protecting the people.”

He acknowledged killings are still ongoing in the state, but said the “isolated attacks” are being investigated and police are “making efforts to get to know those responsible.”

Emmanuel Bello, a spokesperson for Governor Darius Ishaku, said Taraba was under siege even when troops were initially deployed, much less their unverified extension of the exercise.

“They are targeted and killed with no arrests made. The military has a lot to do to restore faith in their activities. Images of dead bodies making social media rounds only enforce the fears that exercise is not achieving its aim.

“The Taraba State Government is willing and ready to cooperate with all the security agencies to safeguard lives. Our people are seriously hoping that professionalism would be upheld and that they can trust the military to keep them safe,” he said.

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