- Governor Samuel Ortom has raised the alarm over an alleged invasion of parts of the state by herdsmen with more than 10,000 cows to cause unrest
- Ortom alleged that the sudden invasion was being backed by some powerful people as part of a grand plan to further destabilize the state
- The governor, however, said he hope that the ecurity agencies will take up the matter
Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state on Wednesday, August 1, raised the alarm over planned invasion of part of the state by herdsmen with over 10,000 cattle as part of a grand plan to further destabilise the state.
Daily Sun reports that the governor said reports reaching him from the Guma Council boss, Anthony Shawon, said that the herdsmen had already taken over part of the area and were grazing freely.
According to him, “I have been told that after the operation WHIRL STROKE succeeded in chasing away the herdsmen, they have started moving into Guma again as (Tuesday). I have already informed the Ccmmander of OPWS and I hope security agencies will take up the matter.
“This is a deliberate plan to destabilise the state. What you saw at the Benue State House of Assembly was just the first phase. But as a law-abiding citizen, my duty is to do intelligence gathering and report to relevant authorities.
The governor, however, exonerated President Muhammadu Buhari from the political happenings in the state following his decampment from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Governor Ortom continued, “I believe President is not aware of happenings in the state but I expect him to call the Inspector General of Police and the Director General of DSS to order,” he said.
Earlier in his broadcast to the people of the state, the governor, while noting that he had committed no crime in defecting to another party, however, called on President Buhari to do everything in his power to protect the democracy that brought him to power.
He said: “I am calling on His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, to protect the democracy that brought him to power by directing the police and other security agencies to respect the rule of law for the survival of democracy in Nigeria.
“I say this because the President is the ultimate head of all security agencies in the country. I call on our traditional and religious leaders, civil society organizations, mass media, Unions and all people of conscience, who love democracy to help avert the emerging impunity in our beloved state.
“Impunity is dangerous and destructive. Its negative effects on people and institutions can be very far reaching. If unchecked, its unexpected consequences will consume all, including those deploying it as an instrument of power.
“I have committed no crime. Today I am facing persecution just because I love my people. I am being persecuted because I am a true democrat. I am giving you concrete dividends of democracy.
You asked for the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law 2017 to regulate the relationship between farmers and herders in the state which I obliged. Now that the Ranching Law is in place, the enemies of our state are out to harass and blackmail us.
“I assure you that we will not be deterred. What exactly is wrong in asking the people of Benue to ranch their cattle? The world is not waiting for us. If we don’t ranch now, we will be forced to do so soon because there will be no land to practice open grazing anywhere in Nigeria.
“What is wrong in changing party? When I left PDP some years ago to join APC, I was exercising my democratic rights. I have left APC back to PDP where I served for over 12 years at various times as executive committee member. I left as a Minister in the PDP government and joined APC but I was not persecuted.
Meanwhile, NAIJ.com had reported that eight out of 30 lawmakers in Benue state House of Assembly served an impeachment notice on Governor Samuel Ortom.
Tahav Agerzua, a spokesperson for Governor Ortom told that the eight lawmakers have also taken over the premises of the state parliament with the alleged support of the police.
“They have taken over the House of Assembly and served the governor an impeachment notice despite a court order forbidding them from doing so,” Agerzua said.
Agerzua claimed that George Akume, a former governor and an APC senator from Benue state, was the one who brought police officers from Abuja to attempt to use eight lawmakers to impeach a governor in a House of 30 lawmakers.
Benue Elders Speak on Herdsmen Attacks | Naij.com TV: