AMID the Sallah celebration in Benue State, 30 suspected criminals have been arrested by the state police command. Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Daniel Ezeala, in an interview with The Guardian Thursday, said most of the suspects were armed robbers and cultists, saying that they were apprehended during the stop and search exercise introduced during Operation Secure Benue. Ezeala further said that the police trapped the rest of the suspects in their hide-outs during raids, pointing out that two stolen vehicles, Toyota Corolla 1.8 model and Peugeot 406 belonging to members of staff of the Federal Medical Centre, Makurdi, were recovered. He emphasised that “Operation Secure Benue” was launched by the command in order to provide peaceful atmosphere during the Sallah celebration, saying that the situation was calm in all the 23 local councils of the state. However, a member, Benue State House of Assembly representing Katsina-Ala West, Iaana Jato, has called on the military authorities to check mate the activities of their men; saying the situation where accusing fingers are pointed at them by victims of crisis’ areas was not good enough. Jato, who made the observation in Makurdi while chatting with journalists, said as a member of the Benue/Taraba joint peace and reconciliation committee on Kuteb/ Tiv farmers’ crisis,there was suspicious evidence that military personnel were allegedly involved in the crisis that engulfed the two states recently. In Maiduguri, Borno State, the Joint Task Force (JTF) and members of Borno Vigilance Youths Group (BVYG), have arrested 13 terror suspects at the Borno Express Terminus; and Barawa in Gwoza Local Council of the state. Speaking on the arrests, chairman of BVYG, Abubakar Mallum, told The Guardian Thursday: “It took our members about an hour before the man and his wife revealed the locationsand motives behind carrying two AK 47 rifle magazines in their travelling bag atthe Motor Park yesterday (Wednesday).” On the arrests of 10 suspects in Gwoza Local Council at Barawa, he said:“We picked these suspects, after verifying their identities at Barawa,” adding that out of those arrested, one has died while the other was released for lack of concrete evidence of being a member of the Boko Haram sect in Borno State.” He said all the arrested suspects, along with the recovered rifles, have been handed over to two sector commanders of JTF in Maiduguri metropolis. Confirming the incidents yesterday in Maiduguri, spokesman of JTF, Lt.-Col. Sagir Musa, said the youths on Wednesday arrested 13 terror suspects,including a husband and wife at the motor park. Meanwhile, the Senate Joint Committee on Defence, Army, National Security, Intelligence and Police Affairs has expressed satisfaction with the restoration of peace, stability and the mode of operation of the Joint Task Force in emergency states of northern part of Nigeria. Chairman of the committee, George Thompson Sekibo, who stated this during a monitoring visit to Borno and Yobe states, said they came to Borno aspart of their oversight functions to carryout formal assessment of the emergency rule in the state and study the implementation strategy and chart the way forward. Deputy Governor, Alhaji Umar Mustafawho received the committee members, recalled that few months ago, the area was deserted due to the activities of terrorists and the news was similar in other parts of the area before the declaration of the state of emergency by President Goodluck Jonathan on May14, 2013. He observed that with the deploymentof more troops, coupled with the assistance of Borno State Volunteer Group, popularly known as Civilian JTF, peace has returned to the area, as people are going about their lawful businesses. The governor called on those who ran away from the state as a result of criminal activities to come back home. Jato lamented the continuous refusal of the Kuteb people to allow the Tiv to come and occupy their original homes located in Taraba State, maintaining that such behaviour defies the spirit of people that have lived together from history.


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