Samuel Ortom, Benue state governor, says Idris Kpotun, the inspector general of police (IGP), is a drowning man who has no business heading the police force.
The governor said this in reaction to Jimoh Moshood, public relations officer of the Nigeria Police Force, who had earlier described him with the same ‘drowning man’ phrase.
The back and forth was prompted by Idris’ criticism of the anti-grazing law and his call for its suspension until ranches were put in place.
The IGP had said the law worsened the violence between farmers and herdsmen, but Ortom had asked him to resign if he was overwhelmed.
Speaking during a radio programme on Tuesday, Ortom said: “It is the IGP that has failed to do the right thing that should be called a drowning man, it is the IGP that should resign.
“I am not a drowning man; I am doing what I was elected to do. Over 99 percent of Benue people are with me, I’m acting their script, so nobody should try to intimidate me.
“The IGP should resign because he has failed woefully. He doesn’t have the capacity. There are many good police officers who can take over that job and perform creditably by turning around the security architecture of this country and make things work and protect lives and property. That man has no business being the IGP.”
The governor also urged the people of his state to “defend themselves lawfully” if the police cannot guarantee the security of their lives and properties.
He described the IGP “as the mouthpiece of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore”, urging him to “resign his current position to serve full time in his new job”.
Ortom denied the police’s claim that the arrested militia members in his state are members of Benue Livestock Guards.
“Those people are not members of our Livestock Guard. It is just a planned thing,” he said.
“Fulani militia have come out in video to display the kind of weapons that they have and everyone has seen it; that is also not enough for the IGP to arrest these people.
“But he chose to declare that we have militia in Benue state. If we have militia in the state, will the herdsmen come and kill our people the way they did and are currently doing?
“It is because we are law-abiding. I think the people should have the right to defend themselves and not make themselves easy prey to be killed in their homes.
“So any lawful means you can adopt to defend yourself in Benue State, just go ahead. We are not going to wait for the inspector-general of police to do it because he has failed in his assignment.”