Governor of Kogi state, Yahaya Bello, has cautioned leaders not to politicise the security challenge in Benue state.
He gave the caution yesterday during the flag off exercise Cat Race in Bajimba village in Guma local government area of Benue state.
Benue state had been recently bedeviled by conflict between herdsmen and farmer, which has claimed many lives.
Bello said he was in Benue state as solitary to his counterpart and people of the state.
He said: “What we are facing in the country is not political but criminal, and it should be treated as such. People of the north central are peaceful people which explained their hospitality to everybody.
“What happen in Benue affects other states like Kogi, Nasarawa and Taraba. We are going to support our brothers and Benue and Nasarawa states.”
Bello urged the military to ensure strict adherent to the rules of engagement and human rights.
He also urged “quick end to the operation to enable the people to go back to their normal businesses.”
Earlier, at the Government House, the Governor Samuel Ortom said there were at least 160,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) across the state.
He charged the military to ensure lasting peace in the state, and arrest perpetrators of the dastardly act.
Responding, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, said the exercise Cat Race was intended to train troops on techniques of internally security and cooperation with other security agencies, as well as tackle security challenges in the state.
He reiterated that the exercise “is not targeted at individual or group, but to ensure peace reign in the state.”
He charged troops to ensure adherent to the rules of engagement and respect the rights of citizens.