..it’s not true – MACBAN
By Peter Duru, Makurdi
Governor Samuel Ortom has raised concern over his safety following the enactment of the grazing law in the state saying that he got intelligence report that militant herdsmen were planning to kidnap him along the busy Makurdi-Lafia road and thereafter torture and kill him.
Governor Ortom who made the revelation Friday while addressing a session of the Church leadership,the Traditional Institution and other Stakeholders in the state towards a peaceful 2019 elections organized by the Catholic Diocese of Makurdi, said the armed militant herdsmen behind the plot had already taken over a part of Guma local government area of the state.
He regretted that some indigenes of the state where working hand in hand with the enemies of the state to pull him down despite his selfless service to the people but assured the gathering that God would always defend him.
He said, “the armed herdsmen, according to the intelligence report, would ensure that all my security aides were killed after which they would Kidnap me, torture me before killing 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 just a few days ago, the federal government issued a secular directing that no flight should land in Makurdi airport again.”
The Governor appealed to the federal government to urgently end the herdsmen killings in parts of the country to pave way for peaceful election in 2019 lamenting that most of the polling units in the crisis affected communities of Benue state were destroyed and taken over by herdsmen who converted them to grazing fields.
According to him,”The killings across Nigeria is a deliberate attempt by some people either Boko Haram, armed bandits or herdsmen working for the same purpose to disenfranchise large proportion of Nigerians from voting for the leaders of their choice.
“Amnesty international had come out to disclose that over 19,000 people have lost their lives in Benue, Taraba, Kaduna, Nasarawa and Plateau states to herdsmen attacks and this does not speak well of Nigeria nation especially as we are heading towards 2019,” he said.
Ortom who lamented that large number of Benue people had become refugees in their own land as a result of ceaseless herdsmen crisis said pockets of killings were still going on in Makurdi, Guma, Logo and Katsina Ala local government areas of the state despite efforts to stem the tide.
He pointed put that most of Benue’s frontline border communities with Taraba and Nasarawa States had been taken over by herdsmen who sacked the indigenous people from their ancestral homes.
“This is unacceptable because even though, a goat doesn’t bite, but when you continue to provoke the goat, the goat could turn around and bite you,” he said.
While calling on international community to show more concern on states affected by herdsmen crisis in the country, the Governor urged traditional rulers to enlighten their subjects on the need to register to obtain their PVCs stressing that it was the sure way to vote out leaders who failed to meet the expectations and yearning of the people.
Reacting to the allegation by the Governor, National Coordinator of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN, Alhaji Garus Gololo disassociated the group from the plot.
Gololo said, “We don’t have problem with anybody in Nigeria or Benue State. What business does MACBAN have with kidnapping? We are not kidnappers or a criminal organization. We are a peaceful organization and whoever gave such false information to Governor Ortom should stop dragging our name in the mud.”