George Okoh in Makurdi
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt General Tukur Buratai, on Tuesday said the exercise Cat Dance otherwise known as â€œAyem Akpatumaâ€ being launched in Benue State will give the army the opportunity to fish out those behind Benue killings and killings in other neighbouring states.
Buratai who made this known while launching the exercise in Gbajimba, Guma Local Government Area of Benue State said the exercise would help familiarise the military troops to the challenge of internal security.
He disclosed that training exercise would cover the entire Benue State, Nasarawa, Taraba and Kogi State adding that it is been conducted with other services of the armed forces as well as other security services especially the police, SSS and other paramilitary organisations.
â€œI am not going to trace the history of the challenge that parts of the country is facing, it is our hope and expectations that at the end of the exercise, things will be normalised. This is a way of contributing our own quota to ensure that we support the civil authority and ensure that peace is restored in the countryâ€, Buratai stressed.
He disclosed that Ayem Akpatuma has become more expedient due to upsurge in cases of armed banditry, kidnapping and herdsmen and farmers clashes.
He solicited for the cooperation of the Benue people so that the aim and objectives of the exercise would be achieved at the end.
In his remark, Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, thanked President Buhari for the deployment of soldiers to help address the security challenges facing the state.
He said he was happy with the deployment of the exercise to curb the incessant crises.
He expressed optimism that the exercise would help restore peace and normalcy to the areas affected in the state that would enable the IDPs return to their various abode.
According to the governor, there are over a hundred and sixty thousand IDPs scattered across various camps in the state as a result of the recent attacks on Benue communities by suspected fulani herdsmen.
â€œ Let me state clearly here that the law on anti -open grazing is a win-win thing, not targeted at any particular group but meant to protect both farmers and herdsmenâ€
â€œIt is our believe that the army will use the Ayem Akpatuma dance exercise to bring peace to the state just as they have used operation python dance and other exercises to restore peace and normalcy in some parts of the country that had similar security challengesâ€, Ortom stated.
In his remark, the Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, called on the people of the state to remain calm as he said President Muhammadu Buhari has deployed the countryâ€™s best security to stop the crises and return peace to the state. He called on Benue people not to politicise the crises.