Men of the Nigerian Army are heading to Benue State in what appears to be the commencement of the Operation Ayem A Kpatuma (Cat Race) recently announced by the Chief Of Army Staff.
ASKiNG RADiO has reported that its team spotted theh Army all the way from the Nasarawa Junction (apparently deployed from Kaduna) in 6 Toyota Hilux Vans and 8 Marcopolo Coach Buses, 1 bus conveys about 65 passengers, this means there are no less than 520 Military Personnel (in the buses alone) heading to Benue.
They made a brief stop in Lafia, Nasarawa State Capital which is 91km to Makurdi but no one alighted and they continued.
The Army had announced that the operation was to check incessant killings by Fulani Herdsmen in the States of Kaduna, Taraba, Nasarawa, Benue and Kogi but most people in Benue believe the move was to shield the Fulani to kill more innocent people. This pessimism is arising from past experience where Soldiers were deployed in parts of the State but more killings continued.
One of those who have no confidence in the Operation is Orchivirigh, Prof. James Ayatse, Tor Tiv V.
He says the grace period given for the commencement of the operations was “to allow the enemy fizzle out” and if the herdsmen move out “what is the cat coming to do? What is the aim of this operation, cat race?”
Ayatse therefore questioned the motive of the committee since it was already being undermined by comments from senior government officials; comments that indicate that a position was already taken on the matter or that the report of the committee may end up not seeing the light of day.
Benue State had given mass burial to 73 of its women, children, the elderly and young people killed on New Year Day in their sleep by Fulani Herders.
A move seen by President Buhari’s Federal Government as a minus from the eyes of the International Community.