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Benue Governor Calls for Increased Military Presence to Address Insecurity



Hyacinth Alia e1695518030345

Alia made these remarks during a courtesy visit to Lt. Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, the Chief of Army Staff, at the Army Headquarters in Abuja.

He observed that while the current deployment ensures safety on highways, killings persist in the hinterlands, preventing farmers from accessing fertile land for agricultural activities.

The governor expressed his gratitude for the efforts of the Nigerian Army in maintaining peace in the Benue Valley. He emphasized that Benue is primarily an agrarian state with farming as the main occupation. However, the most fertile parts of the Benue Valley within the state are inaccessible to farmers due to the threats posed by armed herders.

“Currently, two to five or more people are killed every week due to violence from these criminal gangs, which often goes unreported in the media. While the 401 Special Force Brigade is trying their best, their deployment is mainly limited to the main roads, while killings continue to occur in the hinterlands.

“My request is for the establishment of forward operating bases in Anyiin in Logo Local Government Area, Zaki-Biam in Ukum Local Government Area, Udei and Gbajimba in Guma Local Government Area, Naka in Gwer West Local Government Area, Pontar in Konshisha Local Government Area, and Adikpo in Kwande Local Government Area.

“In the short term, I hope that additional manpower and patrol vehicles can be provided to the 401 Special Force Brigade and Operation Whirl Stroke to improve their reach.

“As a government, we are willing to contribute shelters and logistics for the establishment of these forward operating bases.

“Although I understand that resources may be limited, I believe Benue is unique due to the recurring crises and attacks we have faced.”

The governor also highlighted that some local governments in the state share a border with Cameroon. He expressed concerns that the discovery of solid minerals in these areas may exacerbate the security situation.

“The presence of solid minerals in these areas and local governments is likely to worsen the security situation. It is therefore crucial to take proactive measures by establishing an infantry battalion to cover the general area,” he added.

The Chief of Army Staff stated that he has been assessing the situation in Benue and pledged to take the necessary steps to restore peace to the Benue Valley.

He assured that additional troops and combat enablers would be deployed to 104 forward operating bases. However, the establishment of more FOBs will depend on budgetary provisions.

He stated, “The Nigerian Army currently operates over 100 forward operating bases and cannot establish more without the necessary budget allocations. I urge the governor to provide the infrastructure needed to support troop movement and logistics for our operations.”