Herdsmen planning to kill me, Ortom cries out

By Editor on 25/08/2018

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Ortom
Ortom

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, on Friday raised the alarm that Fulani herdsmen had concluded plans to lie in ambush and kill him along Makurdi-Lafia highway, the only route that connects Abuja to Benue.

Speaking during an interactive session with stakeholders on how to ensure peace during the forthcoming 2019 general elections in the state, the governor explained that he had received intelligence report about the plan to kidnap and kill him.

The event was organised by the Makurdi Catholic Diocese and it held at the Pastoral Centre, Makurdi, the state capital.

The governor, who spoke in Tiv dialect, disclosed that he got an intelligence report, which indicated that Fulani herdsmen currently occupying part of the Guma Local Government Area of the state were already hatching a plan to attack him along the axis.

He said, “The armed herdsmen, according to the intelligence report, would ensure that all my security aides were killed after which they would kidnap, torture and kill me.

“Already, l had reported the matter to the police and other security agencies and they are aware of this.

“Therefore, anytime l sleep and wake up and my spirit doesn’t allow me to travel by road, I would call flight operators. But a few days ago, the Federal Government issued a circular directing that no flight should land in Makurdi airport again.”

Ortom, who also alleged that some Benue indigenes were conniving with other forces in Abuja to kill him, stressed the need for the Federal Government to urgently bring an end to the killings by herdsmen across the country ahead of the 2019 elections.

He said most of the polling units in the crisis-hit areas had been destroyed and taken over by the gun-wielding herders as their grazing fields.

He said, “The killings across Nigeria is a deliberate attempt by some people who are either Boko Haram members, armed bandits or herdsmen working for the same purpose to disenfranchise a large proportion of Nigerians from voting for the leaders of their choices.

“Amnesty International had come out to disclose that over 19,000 people have lost their lives to herdsmen attacks in Benue, Taraba, Kaduna, Nasarawa and Plateau states and this does not speak well of Nigeria, especially as we head towards 2019.”

While lamenting that Benue indigenes have become destitute and refugees in their own lands, Ortom further disclosed that pockets of killings were still ongoing in Makurdi, Guma, Logo and Katsina Ala local government areas of the state.

While calling on the international community to beam its searchlights on states affected by herdsmen crisis, the governor enjoined traditional rulers to enlighten their subjects on the need to register for permanent voter cards so as to participate in the 2019 elections.

In his remarks, Catholic Bishop of Makurdi, Bishop Wilfred Anagbe, disclosed that over 306 traditional rulers, youths, members of both Catholic Women Organisation and Catholic Men Organisation as well as other stakeholders were invited for the meeting to educate them on the need for a violence-free election in 2019.

Meanwhile, responding to the allegation by the governor that some herdsmen had concluded plans to kill him, the Coordinator of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria in Benue State, Alhaji Garus Gololo, said there was no such plan by herdsmen to attack the governor.

Gololo described the association as a respectable and law-abiding organisation in Nigeria.

He said, “It is not true; we don’t have problem with anybody in Nigeria or Benue State. What business does Miyetti Allah have with kidnapping? We are not kidnappers or a criminal organisation. We are a peaceful organisation and whoever gave such information to him should be invited by security agents.

Buhari encouraging illegalities in Benue – PDP

The Peoples Democratic Party has alleged that the President is encouraging illegalities in Benue State.

The party said it raised the alarm recently when members of Miyetti Allah asked the President of the Senate, Senator Bukola Saraki to either resign or that they would force him out of office.

The National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, who spoke with one of our correspondents in Abuja on Friday, said that rather than arrest and interrogate those threatening the peace of the nation,  the President and the security agencies had refused to take action.

He said, “Well, we have raised the issue of illegalities by the government of President Buhari several times.

“The President has refused to either take action or ask his security chiefs to act. The governor of Benue State has become an endangered specie for daring to leave the APC. That is wrong in a democracy.  When Ortom abandoned the PDP and joined the APC, we didn’t threaten him and others. That is decent politics and democracy.”

MACBAN’s patrons’ll be held responsible if Ortom is attacked – SMBLF

Reacting to the alarm raised by the governor, the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum has warned that patrons of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association will be held responsible for any attack on the Benue governor.

The forum said the alarm raised by Ortom should not be dismissed, noting that Miyetti Allah had a few days ago threatened to forcefully remove the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, if he failed to resign.

A spokesperson for SMBLF, Yinka Odumakin, said, “We cannot dismiss the allegation; in a country where the National Assembly can be shut down by the Department of State Service and a country where Miyetti Allah can issue a statement that they would force out the senate president if he did not resign.

He posited that the Federal Government had been handling the group with kid gloves or covertly encouraging them.

He said, “The herdsmen have been killing in the last two years without one person being brought to book. They have been killing ordinary people; now, they want to go for the big ones. The alarm raised by Governor Ortom should not be taken with levity and if anything happens to him, Miyetti Allah and their patrons would be held responsible. Clearly, the descent to chaos and anarchy is imminent in Nigeria.”

Police yet to receive report from gov – FPRO

The Force Public Relations Officer, Mr. Jimoh Moshood, said the police was not aware of the alleged plot, adding that the governor had yet to make the intelligence report available to the force.

“The governor has not made the intelligence report available to the police, but he can report to the Benue State Commissioner of Police or petition the Inspector-General of Police about the alleged plot against him,” he added.

Ortom crying wolf where there is none – APC

The acting National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress, Mr. Yekini Nabena, dismissed the alarm raised by the governor, saying it was a ploy to seek attention and should not be taken seriously.

In a telephone interview on Friday, Nabena said, “Ortom should not be taken seriously. This is a man who does not even know which party he belongs to; he is just crying foul where there is nothing. He is just seeking for attention.”

Allegation should not be taken lightly – Council of Tiv Youths

Also responding, the President, National Council of Tiv Youths, Dr. John Akperashi, said for the governor to make such public outcry meant that he had a credible source of information.

He said, “The allegations should not be taken lightly. This is a security threat that requires urgent security scrutiny and proactive measures to nip this in the bud. Tiv youths will not condone any act of lawlessness and rascality on its soil any longer.” --Punch

Posted 25/08/2018 06:41:19 AM

 

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