Benue State Police Commissioner, CP Fatai Owoseni, has said that normalcy has been restored in all the communities attacked by herdsmen and appealed to residents to stop fleeing their homes.
Owoseni said on Monday in Makurdi that Policemen were doing their best to enable all the displaced persons return to their homes, adding that they would collaborate with members of the public to achieve this.
The commissioner said that the state was now calm, adding that the Nigeria Police had strengthened its partnership with sister security agencies and the people for the purpose of ending the crisis.
“You may provide all the security for the people, but as an individual you need to choose whether you are secure or not, some of these things are issues of perception.
“Most of the people living in the state are in a state of panic and once you panic, you are most likely to die before your death.
“The people living along the border communities are very safe; people have started returning to their communities, especially in Logo where some communities celebrated church services in their areas for the first time since the beginning of this crisis,” he said.
The CP disclosed that the Police had formed strong partnership with the people to build confidence and effectively gather information to completely end the crisis in the state.
“We are working with the communities because the kind of attack being recorded here, the hit and run attacks, look like asymmetric warfare like a guerrilla warfare, so we need the people in the community to effectively help to gather intelligence.”
He said that the security challenge experienced over the few days was a result of activities of criminal bandits who were allegedly being sponsored by the notorious wanted Benue militia leader, Mr. Terwase Akwaza, popularly called Ghana.
Owoseni said that criminal bandits in the area had taken advantage of the situation to cause havoc in the area, but assured the situation was under control.
“What we have in Ukum is a pure case of bandits, before my arrival in the state last week; there were already some communal fighting between some criminal groups between Ukum and Shitile.
“The notorious bandit, Ghana, which was declared wanted by the state, has taken advantage of it; they have attacked our security point in the area and two officers were killed and the house of Security Adviser to the Gov. Samuel Ortom was burnt down.
“There were attacks and counter attacks in the area that was why we deployed officers to the area”.
He said that the people were key to information gathering and policing.