From Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Commandant of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in Benue State State, Dr. Philip Okoh has said that the Corps does not arrest cattle but only provides security cover, through its Agro Rangers Unit, for the Benue State Livestock Guards to ensure that arrested cattle are guarded to safety.
“We don’t arrest cattle but we have an Agro Rangers Unit that provides security cover for the Livestock Guards of the Benue State government which enforces the anti open grazing law.
Okoh stated this in his office while playing host to Executive members of the Correspondent Chapel of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, (NUJ) Benue State Council who paid him a courtesy visit on Tuesday evening.
The state NSCDC boss revealed that only recently, over 250 cattle that were arrested by the Benue Livestock Guards were guarded to safety by personnel of the Agro Rangers Unit of the Command.
“As I’m talking to you now, over 250 cattle were arrested by the Livestock Guards on Monday and our men have helped to escort them to safety.
“Last week also, they arrested some cows and our men gave them cover. That of Monday, I was told there was exchange of fire for about two hours between our men, assisted by OPWS, and the herders.”
He listed some of the successes of the command in the last six months to include protection of critical national assets and infrastructure as well as working round the clock in collaboration with sister agencies to maintain peace and order in the state.
Okoh further stated that the Command has been arresting different types of criminals for various crimes ranging from fraud, illegal possession of fire arms, kidnapping, vandalism among others, adding that while some of the suspects are in cells, others have already been charged to court.
While noting that the Command, in making sure that their judicial system is well managed, has, through its Peace and Conflict Management Unit, charged with Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), settled various cases like breach of contract among others.
“As I’m talking to you, we have arrested a lot of vandals of railway slippers and there are less cases of vandalism on power units; transformers.
“For maintaining peace and order, we are still in divisions in various local government in the state to ensure that the right things are done. We are expanding by opening new divisions because part of my vision is to ensure that the response time to alerts of criminality is reduced.
The Commandant who said his duty is to bring security to the door steps of every person in Benue commended the state Government, traditional rulers, media and other stakeholders for supporting the Command in every way possible.
“We want to ensure that we have more men on ground to reach out to people to curb crime and ensure peace and order in the state and God is helping us,” Okoh said.
He urged the media to do their work with the fear of God, by always verifying information before going to press.
Earlier in a remark, the Chairman of Correspondent Chapel, Tor Vande-Acka, commended the Commandant for a job well done since assuming office in the state and promised that the Correspondents’ Chapel would partner with the command in ensuring that there’s relative peace and security in the state.