Benue State Governor, Reverend Father Hyacinth Alia on Tuesday met with the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja and demanded for more support and focus of the military in tackling issues of insecurity in the state.
Reports indicate that no fewer than 28,997 persons have lost their lives to insecurity in Benue with over 54,476 houses and farm produce valued at N21 billion destroyed in the last few years, according to a don from the Department of Economics at the Federal University, Wukari, Dr. Vincent Gisaor.
Governor Alia in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Tersoo Kula said the once very peaceful state is at the moment besieged by criminals ranging from murderous armed herders, bandits and local gangsters.
“A week hardly passes without reports of two, three or more persons being killed in the villages, mostly on their farms by armed herders. Most of these are not reported in the media,” Governor noted.
He decried lack of manpower for other formations operating within the state, including Operation Whirlstroke and the 401 Special Forces Brigade, adding that if properly equipped, the men of the formations may begin to enter the hinterlands to be able to tackle the menace and will not only be standing on the roads as it is the practice presently.
The governor called for the establishment of Force Operation Bases in Anyiin, Naka, Ukum, Agatu, Udei and Gbajimba.
The Chief of Army Staff in his remarks said that as one who has served in the state for nine years, he has a good understanding of the security situation of the state.
“In my capacity as COAS, I do receive on a daily basis security reports both formal and informal from Benue State,” he stressed.
General Lagbaja promised that the Nigerian Army will turn it’s attention to Benue, especially now that the dry season is about setting in, adding that it is the time that the state usually witness a lot of crisis.