This is a save-our-souls call to the political leaders of Benue State and the Inspector General of Police. The boys which politicians recruited, equipped, used and abandoned after the elections have now taken over Katsina-Ala Local Government Area of the state, killing and seizing people’s belongings to sustain their lives since money no longer comes into their pockets.
The activities of these boys have gone out of hand. People are relocating to other places for their safety. The police in Katsina-Ala seemed to be afraid of them as they operate for 24 hours with guns without being confronted by the police or anyone.
Seeing dead bodies every day on the streets of Katsina-Ala is now a normal thing. It is shocking that people in authority are aware of the happenings in the area but only when the herdsmen strike that government reacts as if the ongoing killings in Katsina-Ala are a welcome development and those perpetrating the killings should keep it up.
It is undemocratic and lawless to see unauthorized group of boys going from house to house to impose and collate any amount of money they want from you, seizing your valuables for not having money to give them and in some cases, they still kill those that hurriedly give them money without arguments, for reasons best known to them.
These boys are everywhere in Katsina-Ala. In markets, they collect farm produce brought for sale, sell and give very little amount of money to the owners. They have constituted their own government and collect tax from people.
The rumour that the boys are servants of a notorious criminal element could be true. This fellow has been on the wanted list for long. He once pretended to have accepted amnesty offered by the government, but has been alleged to be responsible for the death of noted government official. Though he strongly denied involvement in the death of the official, he has remained on the wanted list. Even the late Alhaji Abubakar Tsav, once questioned the sincerity of the amnesty programme.
It is believed that the criminal element who has been on the run is now taking out his frustration on innocent citizens, through his boys.
I want to urge the government and the Inspector general of Police to take urgent necessary steps to end the killings and other dehumanizing activities that have crippled everything in Katsina-Ala, and forcing people to relocate to find safety in other places.
Other prominent indigenes of Benue State, such as the Minister of Special Duties and Inter-governmental Affairs, Dr. George Akume, Senator Gabriel Suswam, Senator Orker Jev and other high ranking political officeholders in the state should come together and join hands in addressing the issue in question before it engulfs the entire state. Certainly, we wouldn’t want to have another brand of Boko Haram in Benue, terrorizing the Middle Belt states!
• Awunah Pius Terwase, writes from Mpape, Abuja.