By Tordue Salem, Abuja
The House of Representatives on Tuesday, urged the Department of Security Services. DSS to investigate claims Fulani National Movement, FUNAM, that they were responsible for the assassination attempt on Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom on Saturday last week.
The House, with Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila presiding, made the resolution after taking a “MATTER OF URGENT PUBLIC IMPORTANCE PURSUANT TO ORDER EIGHT, RULE (4) OF THE STANDING ORDERS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES”, on the “ARMED ATTACK AND ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT ON GOVERNOR SAMUEL ORTOM OF BENUE STATE AND THE WORSENING SPATE OF INSECURITY IN NIGERIA”, sponsored by Rep. Kpam Jimin Sokpo who represents Buruku Federal Constituency of Benue State and 11 others.
Why presenting his motion, he raised concerns, “about the worsening spate of violent crimes and insecurity across the country ranging from cultism, armed robbery, armed herdsmen attacks, armed bandit attacks, armed militia attacks, Boko Haram insurgency and terrorism”, expressing worries that “on Saturday, 20th March 2021, some gunmen suspected to be killer herders, ambushed and opened gunfire on the convoy of the Governor of Benue State, His Excellency, Gov. Samuel Ortom at Tyo-Mu Community, a distance of fewer than 20 kilometres from Makurdi, the state capital;
Further worried that the armed attackers, numbering over 15 wielded sophisticated weapons and dressed in black, had trailed the Governor from the farm but were repelled by the security detail attached to the Governor, who had 4 to run for over 1 kilometre to safety”.
The sponsor of the motion said he was “Disturbed that since the attack, several media (particularly, The News, Daily Post, Premium Times and Vanguard Newspapers of 22nd March 2021 have been awash with reports that a group identified as Fulani National Movement (FUNAM) has through one Umar Amir Shehu claimed responsibility for the dastardly attack, and reportedly justified its attempt on the life of the Benue State Governor”.
He was miffed by “the inflammatory statements attributed to this group, who have publicly declared “their unequivocal intention and mission to kill the Governor, his collaborators and whoever is against the Fulani long term interest as a case of vengeance against an infidel” who in their own words, “has used his time and resources, and deployed same in destroying the values and inheritance of the Fulani”.
He however praised “the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Muhammadu Buhari in condemning the armed attack and assassination attempt on Governor Samuel Ortom, and his subsequent directive for the Police to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation into the attack”.
Rep. Sokpo also acknowledged “the directives of the Inspector General of Police and immediate deployment of FCID to Benue State for a thorough investigation of the incidence”.
But expressed fears that “the assassination attempt on Ortom of Benue State is an invitation to anarchy and a glaring indication that the nation is drifting into a state of full-scale lawlessness; Desirous to re-enforce its statutory role of ensuring the security and welfare of the people as the primary purpose of government”.
In his contribution to the motion, the Minority Leader, Rep. Ndudi Godwin Elumelu(PDP-Delta), warned that if the violent herdsmen were not stopped as fast as possible, Nigeria may soon, begin to import basic foods like Cassava.
“If care is not taken, we will soon be importing yams, cassava and garri into the country, to feed our people, because our people in the grassroots are no longer going to their farms, because of attacks from herdsmen”, he warned.
In adopting all the arguments, the House collectively condemned “ the armed attack and assassination attempt on Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State by unidentified gunmen on the 20th March 2021”.
Though the House commended “ the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, Muhammadu Buhari for his prompt response and for immediately ordering an investigation into the attacks on the Governor of Benue State, His Excellency, Gov. Samuel Ortom”, it also resolved, to “Call on the Department of State Services and Nigeria Police to investigate claims of responsibility on the attack of Governor Samuel Ortom, as well as other threats and statements allegedly attributed to one Umar Amir Shehu and the Fulani National Movement (FUNAM)”.
The House also urged “all Nigerians of good conscience and law-abiding citizens to keep faith in the indivisibility, unity and sovereignty of the nation”.