Benue State through a non-governmental organization, Benue Valley Empowerment and Renaissance Initiative has raised alarm over deployment of soldiers by the federal government for operation Python Dance III nationwide few days to the general elections is a clear sign of militarisation of democracy.
Benue Valley Empowerment and Renaissance Initiative made their position known during a press conference Makurdi where they decried the incesant transfers of Commissioners of police to and out of Benue state closer
They explained that deployment of troops nationwide in itself renders Democracy vulnerable because, coup D’etats are usually facilitated by the ability to move troops across strategic areas, some politicians vowing that other candidates will not be allowed to take over the reins of governance even if they win which proved that the deployment of the troops is not in the interest of the nation this time.
The group advised the military to defend the territorial integrity of the nation instead of the usurpation of the role of the police. The Army should channel her efforts towards addressing the subsisting security challenges in the North-East and the killer herbsmen invasion of the middle belt region and not to dissipate energy and resources on election matters, they added.
The civil society organization also expressed so much worry over the illegal transfer of Commissioners of police noting that, a space of one year beginning from January 2018 till date, the Benue state police command has had five (5) Commissioners of police naming; Bashir Makama, Fatai Owoseni, Besen Gwana, Okon Ene and recently the new commissioner of police, Omololu Bishi Who has already resumed duty.
They said, ” we recall that at one point, a commissioner of police was transferred to the state during the Benue State House of Assembly crisis, only for him to come and lay a siege on the hallowed chambers of the house, and he was soon transferred out thereafter as such, recent transfer of Okon Ene out of the state and deployment of Omololu Bishi on the eve of the elections is rather suspicious and illegal especially owing to the fact that it was done by an IG whose tenure of office expired. We are concerned that he could be used to do the binding of the powers that be in an attempt to prevent the electorates from exercisng their franchise freely”.
Speaking on the Wadata Market Inferno, the civil society organization Sympathized with the victims and commended Benue state government for her prompt response but at the same time urged the government to do more than offering cash donations to the victims.
They called on the government to relocate the Wadata Market and build a recreational facility around the area for increased IGR and security of lives of the indigenous people of the Benue Valley since the location of the market is both a security threat and economic loss to the government and people of Benue state.
Benue Valley Initiative also called on all political parties, their candidates and supporters to maintain peace and order during the electioneering campaign leading to the General Election and eschew violence and campaign of bitterness in the 2019 General Elections.They as well called on the electorates of Benue Valley not to sell their PVC’s or votes for any amount what so ever, also urged the Youth not to offer their services to be used for thuggery.