The governor also said in one occasion, he had to run for close to two kilometres to escape after about 15 herdsmen attacked him on his farm at Tyo-Mu community, near Makurdi, the state capital.
Ortom was one of the governors to push for the anti-open grazing law in his state over deadly clashes between the nomads and farmers, a move that was heavily criticised by the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria and Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, which are the umbrella bodies for nomadic herders in the country.
He once told Fulani killer herders to go to Bauchi State saying there was no room for them in his state.
Because of that, I was targeted for elimination, That they will go after me either in my home, farm or wherever they could get me.
“But like I always say, my life is in the hands of God, not in the hands of any Fulani man or anybody whatsoever.
“And I remain firm, I will fight for the truth, equity and fairness till when God permits that I will not be here again, then I will go.
“I appreciate the security personnel attached to me, they were able to repel them and they could not have access to me.
“I thank God for my fitness too. To be able to run for close to two kilometres without stopping, means that God has given me strength, and I am grateful to God.”
Ortom said his grudge is with killer Fulani herders and not people of Fulani extraction.
He said, “I am not going to subject myself to intimidation by anyone whatsoever.
“I don’t have problems with any Fulani man or the Fulani race, but I have a problem with Fulani bandits, who have vowed to take over Nigeria as their ancestral home and I say no, not when I am here as governor leading my state.
“I am not concerned about other states, any state that wants to give their land and themselves to be slaves to Fulani men, I have no problem with them but, in my state, I have consulted with my people and what I am doing is in line with the wishes of my people, and on that, I stand. I have not infringed on anybody’s right.
“My lawyer is here, he is going to make a petition against the leadership of Miyetti Allah because they came out to target me and, behind the scenes, they are planning to eliminate me in my land.
“If I can’t go to the farm as governor with the entire security around me, then who else can go to the farm? You can imagine the pains that we have here in Benue State.
“I don’t know why these Fulani men are coming from Niger, Mali, Chad and Senegal and other parts of the world to Nigeria.
“They have destroyed Mali completely, nothing is happening there, they have destroyed Libya, they have destroyed several other countries with their aggression and they think they can come here and destroy Nigeria. I don’t know what they mean.
“And anytime our Livestock Guards and security agencies go after them, then run back into the forest across the river.
“This is not fair, I am going to make a petition against the leadership of Miyetti Allah because I hold them responsible.
“I have been calling for the arrest of these people since 2017 and they are going about their normal businesses in Abuja, in Yola, Kano and everywhere without security personnel inviting them for questioning.
“And my pain is that these people are protected by our security personnel who are paid with our tax payers’ money. These are security men that are inadequate because of the crisis created by Miyetti Allah and the police are still protecting them.
“Why, are we second-class citizens? I am not a second-class citizen to anyone in this country.
“I pay my tax just like any other person and I am law-abiding and I hope that the security agencies will question these people on why they should single me out in their Yola meeting and behind the scenes giving orders for me to be eliminated. I have seen the result today. If not for the security personnel that were with me it would have been a story.
“Recall that Governor Fayemi came out clearly and said this government has failed. Providing security is nil. Everybody is running all over the place; traditional rulers, governors, politicians and all. If I am not safe in my state, who else is safe?
“We are begging the Federal Government that brought them (Fulani militia) into the country, they should settle them to go back to where they came from so that we can have our peace. Even if it means taxing all of us to settle them to go away so that we can go to the farm, we will do that. If I cannot go to the farm, who else can go to the farm in Benue?