From Austine Tule, Makurdi
The Benue State Commander of the Livestock Guards, Alhaji Aliyu Tershaku, has refuted the claim by the Assistant Director, Army Public Relations, 707 Special Forces Brigade, Maj-Gen Olabisi Ayeni, that a member of the guards was arrested for cattle rustling and gun-running.
Tershaku stated this on Tuesday in Makurdi while interacting with journalists.
”The attention of the organisation has been drawn to a publication in the Blueprint newspaper of Tuesday, February 27, 2018, where Ayeni alleged that a member of the guards has been arrested in Ukum Local Government Area of the state by ‘Exercise Cat Race’ for cattle rustling and gun running.
”I wish to state categorically that the Benue Government established the Livestock Guards but did not arm them.
”The arrested suspect is not a member of the State Livestock Guards. It is, therefore, misleading to insinuate that a member of the organisation has been caught with arms,” he said.
He said that the guards do not carry weapons and their role is to help conventional security agencies in the implementation of the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law 2017.
He, therefore, said that he found the statement credited to Maj-Gen Ayeni as a fabrication and deliberate attempt to find a reason to blame the Benue Government for sponsoring militia.
”I also wish to make it clear that members of the Benue State Livestock Guards do not engage in any form of cattle rustling.
”Instead, the Livestock Guards, since establishment of the organisation has contributed greatly in preventing cases of cattle rustling in different parts of the state according to section 20 of the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law of Benue State,” he said.
He urged the public to disregard the allegation in its entirety as it was part of the conspiracy to give a dog a bad name in order to hang it.