Security In Benue — A Misplaced Priority

Personnel of the Benue Forest Guards cut tinted hair off the head of a young lady in Makurdi. Security is a very vital component of every human community at any given time. A stable security state translates into a prosperous society. However, security has become the talk in Nigeria in recent years.

Personnel of the Benue Forest Guards cut tinted hair off the head of a young lady in Makurdi. 

Security is a very vital component of every human community at any given time. A stable security state translates into a prosperous society. However, security has become the talk in Nigeria in recent years.

Benue state, particularly, has been in the news almost on a daily basis. Not for any developmental strides. On social media, the national dailies or TV stations, of people killed and maimed, with bullet and matchet wounds, one would see very disturbing pictures.

This event has had a negative effect on the economy of the state, where the citizens are primarily agrarians. The farmers no longer go to the farm for fear of attacks by marauding herders. Those who are brave enough to dare sometimes get killed on the farm. In some cases, even after successful cultivation, they have their crops eaten by cattle, and the farm is totally destroyed.

Against this backdrop, after passing a bill into law, the state government that prohibits open grazing constituted an enforcement agency. Initially called the Livestock Guard, the agency was later transformed into and called the Forest Guard.

One would expect this newly formed security unit to operate in the rural areas, where the herder's attacks are perpetuated. However, there has been disturbing news of the guards allegedly arresting people in the city center of Makurdi, the state capital. This has been justified on the premise of trying to curb rising security challenges in the town.

On Tuesday, 26th April 2022, there were reports of alleged arrests and harassment, of innocent citizens on the streets of Makurdi, by the Forest guards. There were pictures and videos on social media allegedly showing personnel of the security unit cutting off dreads and tinded hair.

This will leave one wondering if the guards are still on course as to what the unit was formed for. There has been public suspicion that they are, in fact, created against political enemies.

The Benue State government should, as a matter of urgency, look into the Forest Guards' operations before it turns into an outlaw unit.

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