'Attack on Gov Ortom attempt to silence man of truth, justice'
Samuel Ortom

…Sponsors of disturbing attack on Ortom must be uncovered —Northern govs

…PDP govs condemn attack on Ortom, say it’s an invitation to anarchy

…Benue people not weak— Mark

…Says citizens may resort to self-help

…As IGP orders full scale investigations into assassination attempt

…Orders beef up of security around governor

…Don’t politicise attack on Ortom —APC

…Buhari orders thorough, transparent investigation of attack

By Kingsley Omonobi, Henry Umoru, Peter Duru, Dirisu Yakubu & Marie-Therese Nanlong

The Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF, said yesterday that any attempt to make Benue State ungovernable will fail woefully.

The NGF was reacting to Saturday’s attack by gunmen suspected to be herdsmen on the governor’s convoy while on a visit to his farm at Tyo Mu along Makurdi-Gboko road.

Ortom had said that 15 armed men trailed his convoy to the river bank where he was on foot with his security details and opened fire on them.

The governors’ reaction came as the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Mohammed Adamu, yesterday, ordered full-scale investigations into the circumstances surrounding the attack and reported assassination attempt on the life of Governor Ortom.

Reacting to the attack yesterday in a statement, Chairman of the NGF and governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, did not only describe the broad daylight attack on Ortom as “shocking and a rude awakening” but also noted that any attempt to make Benue State ungovernable, by virtue of that attack, would fail.

Recalling that the brother of a former governor of the state, Gabriel Suswam, was recently killed by gunmen, the governors said the plan of the gunmen was to make Benue ungovernable and vowed to bring the violence in the state to an end.

NGF condemns attack

The statement read: “The news of the broad daylight attempt to cut short the life of the Governor of Benue State, Dr Samuel Ortom, is shocking and a rude awakening.

“The Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF, empathizes with the governor and the people of Benue State on this sad, cowardly, and wicked plan and vehemently condemns the act in its entirety.

“All hands must be on deck to uncover the identities of those involved in this heinous crime. The NGF wishes to state categorically that the attempt to make Benue State ungovernable is unacceptable and will fail woefully.

“Only recently the brother of one of the former governors of the state was mowed down in cold blood. This dishonourable and shameful act of resorting to violence, for whatever reason, to eliminate citizens of Benue State by brutal means must not continue.

“The NGF as a platform for all the 36 Governors will continue to encourage its members to stand firm in the service of their people regardless of the evil machinations of those who do not wish Nigeria well.

“Evil will not be allowed to triumph over good, not in Benue and not anywhere in this country. While all governors will continue to pray for Governor Ortom, the NGF wishes to draw the attention of all evil-doers that not only will they continue to fail in their wicked acts, but they will also definitely be traced and punished for their crimes, no matter how long it takes.

“Once again, the NGF prays for Governor Ortom and wishes him long life as his safety and that of all the people of Benue State continue to be paramount to the NGF.”

Fish out sponsors — Northern govs

Similarly, Northern governors condemned the attack in the strongest terms, describing it as a disturbing development which must be investigated thoroughly.

Chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum and governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong, in a statement signed by his Director of Press and Public Affairs, Makut Macham, said the attack on Governor Ortom was “yet another daring attempt by criminals to cause mayhem not only in Benue State but also in the nation as a whole.”

While praising the security details of the governor for repelling the attack and securing the governor and members of his entourage, Lalong said: “Relevant security agencies must carry out detailed investigation to fish out those behind the attack and their sponsors.

“All hands must be on deck to tame this degeneration of security in the country that threatens the corporate existence of the nation.

“Northern governors stand in solidarity with our colleague and the entire people of Benue State. We will continue to engage and support security agencies in their duty of securing the region and nation at large.”

Attack on Ortom, attack on us all — PDP govs

Also yesterday, governors elected on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, condemned in strong terms the reported attack on Ortom by yet-to-be-identified gunmen.

Chairman of the forum and governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal, in a statement he personally signed on behalf of his colleagues, warned that “any attempt to harm any Nigerian will be viewed by the forum as an attempt on all of us.”

The statement read: “We believe strongly that any dispute or perceived dispute should be and must be resolved amicably without resort to violence. Nigeria is not a Babana Republic, even though certain retrogressive elements and centrifugal forces are trying to consign Nigeria into a failed state.

“It remains the primary responsibility of government, especially the federal government, who have monopoly of the coercive forces of state, to secure the lives and livelihoods of our people, however low or high.

“Every Nigerian deserves equal protection of the laws. Every citizen is entitled to freedom of speech and free exercise of all rights guaranteed in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, subject only to law.

“Nigeria is still a democracy and a nation of laws and not men. Nobody, or group, however, highly placed should take the laws into their   hands, even though some highly placed federal government ministers seem to have surrendered to the nefarious activities of miscreants and mischief makers, bent on destabilising the nation. Self-help is an invitation to anarchy and must be nipped in the bud.

“The PDP governors are solidly united and are behind Governor Samuel Ortom and will do the utmost to defend the rights and prerogatives of Benue people who elected him.

“We expect the security agencies and other authorities of state to investigate this matter swiftly and thoroughly and bring the perpetrators to justice.  Enough is clearly enough.”

Benue people not weak — Mark

Also reacting, former Sen ate president, David Mark, condemned the attack on Samuel Ortom, saying this might compel people to defend themselves.

In a statement signed by his media aide, Paul Mumeh, Mark said if a governor’s security could not be guaranteed, citizens might have to resort to self-help.

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He said: “If a state governor can be so brazenly attacked, what would they not do to ordinary citizens?

“Let me state clearly that Benue people are receptive and accommodating. But this should not be misconstrued or mistaken for weakness. Enough of this malady.

“If our government and security operatives can no longer guarantee peoples’ safety in their homes, farms or places of business, I am worried that the situation may compel citizens to resort to self help.

“That is the situation, we cannot contemplate and must not be allowed to happen because the consequences would be catastrophic.

“Therefore, the Federal Government and all the security agencies must of a necessity come to terms with the painful reality of the unending insecurity in the land and resolve to end it.”

The senator, who also hails from Benue, urged Ortom not to be deterred by the incident, noting that he (governor) had lived up to his oath of office to defend and protect the lives and property of Benue people without compromise.

He also advised all citizens to be security conscious at all times and provide information regarding any suspected activity to security operatives.

Attack on Ortom: APC warns against politicizing crime

The ruling All Progressives Congress APC has condemned Saturday’s attack on the convoy of the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom.

The party in a statement by the National Secretary of its Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee CECPC, Sen. John James Akpanudoedehe, however, cautioned Nigerians about politicizing crime.

Part of the statement reads: “We thank God for his safety and praise the dutiful security details for repelling the attack.

“We are confident our security services will do everything to unravel the criminals behind the attack and bring them to book.

“The APC reiterates that we must all collaborate to end criminality in all forms. A crime is a crime and should not be politicised in any way.”

IG orders full investigation

Meanwhile, the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Mohammed Adamu, has ordered full-scale investigations into the attack and reported assassination attempt on the life of the governor.

The IGP, who condemned the incident, also directed the Commissioner of Police, Benue State command, to take adequate measures towards strengthening and improving security in the state, particularly around the governor.

A statement by CP Frank Mba, Force Public Relations Officer, said: “The IGP has also specifically directed the CP to carry out painstaking investigations into the incident and ensure the arrest and prosecution of persons indicted in the course of the investigations.

“Meanwhile, in order to ensure a speedy, thorough and conclusive investigations into the matter, the IGP has ordered the immediate deployment of a team of specialized investigators from the Force Criminal Investigations Department, FCID, Abuja to Benue State to provide additional investigative support to Benue State police command.

“While calling for calm, the IGP has assured the people of Benue State and the country at large that the Force will continue to do its best in stabilizing the security situation in the country.

“The IGP further reiterates that the Force will continue to work with relevant stakeholders to advance the fight against violent crimes and other criminal activities across the country.”

Buhari orders thorough, transparent investigation of Gov Ortom’s attack

President Muhammadu Buhari has condemned the attack on Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State, saying the string of brutal attacks on individuals and communities in the state, with the latest one targeting the governor, was unacceptable.

This was contained in a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu in Abuja last night.

Mallam Shehu in the statement said that the President welcomed the dispatch of a high level team of crack investigators to the state from the Police headquarters in Abuja, urging the officers to uncover who, or whatsoever, was behind the attacks and bring them to justice.

According to the statement, “In expressing his sympathies, and that of the government of the federation to Governor Ortom and all Benue indigenes, President Buhari said the unfortunate incident must not be politicized, reiterating that an attack on one Nigerian is an attack on all Nigerians.

“The President directed the Police to undertake a thorough investigation into the incident involving the governor and into all such incidents affecting individuals and communities in the state.”

“Let there be open and transparent investigation and whoever is linked to it should be caught and be made to face the law,” the President directed.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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