Fulani Herdsmen: Presidency Has Abandoned Us – Benue Governor, Ortom Cries Out

Governor of Benue state, Samuel Ortom has cried
out to the public over the recent killings in the
state by Fulani Herdsmen, saying that the
Presidency has ‘abandoned’ him.
Ortom pointed fingers at those around the
president, saying that they were frustrating his
efforts to present a true account of events to the
president due to selfish reasons.
Speaking to Vanguard, Ortom further stated that he
was losing control of things as the people of his
state now take laws into their own hands. He said;
“Let me be frank. The Federal Government has not
done enough. When this incidence started with the
threat from the president and secretary of Miyetti
Allah, Kauta Hore, who addressed a press
conference and issued threats that they will do
everything possible to frustrate the Benue State
Government from implementing the anti-open
grazing law, we quickly drew the attention of the
Inspector General of Police, the Director-General of
the Department of State Services, DSS, and even
the office of the National Security Adviser.
The leadership of Miyetti Allah called the law
names: that it was draconian and had no place in
the 21st century. We saw that as a threat to our
existence and in June 2016, we reported to the
then acting president (Prof. Yemi Osinbajo) and to
our surprise, these people were not apprehended.
When they saw that no one was going to
apprehend them, they went further to issue more
threats. In October 2016, we reminded the IGP, the
DSS and the NSA of the potential violence that we
faced in Benue State as a result of the threat from
the Miyetti Allah. We, specifically, demanded that
the two officers of the Miyetti Allah, the secretary
and the president, be arrested, but unfortunately,
they were not arrested. I do not know why the
Federal Government has abandoned us. If they had
acted that time, we would not have gotten to where
we are today.”
The stressed governor said that due to the
continued killings of innocent Benue Indigenes by
Fulani Herdsmen, the people have now decided to
take laws into their hands.
“You can see that it is getting beyond me. Even
when there was protest against the recent killings
in Makurdi, and I went there, there was massive
resistance. It became violent and it is even God
that saved us. I would have been attacked.
When I came into office, there was proliferation of
arms and ammunition in the state. I declared an
amnesty programme that saw massive retrieval of
arms from our youths. I pleaded with them that the
way to develop is not by taking the laws into their
hands but by obeying the laws. I have resisted the
temptation to say that our people should protect
themselves because I trusted the president.
I believed that he has the capacity to protect us.
But from what is happening, I am sure some
people around him are frustrating our
communication with him and the actions to be
taken. Otherwise, the president I know will not
allow this kind of thing to be happening. We have
not committed any offence.
We have no regret passing the anti-open grazing
law. The law came as a necessity because of the
killings in Benue State by the herdsmen. We
sought peaceful ways of resolving the matter but
we could not.
We tried everything under the sun to ensure that
we stopped these killings but it was not possible
so we prayed and God gave us the wisdom to
enact that law, which gives protection to the
farmers and the herdsmen.
“We have not sent cattle rearers away from Benue,
we are simply saying there are modern ways of
rearing cattle, which is to ranch them. With that,
farmers can go their legitimate ways of doing their
business and those who are rearing cattle can also
continue. I am surprised at the resistance of the
herders.”

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