Breaking: Herdsmen plotting to kill me along Lafia- Abuja highway – Ortom

Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state has raised the alarm that armed Fulani herdsmen are planning to kidnap, torture and kill him along Makurdi-Lafia highway.

He revealed that intelligence report available to his disposal showed that the herdsmen who are currently occupying the greater part of Guma, his home local government area, were plotting to attack him along Abuja-Lafia road, saying already, he has reported the matter to the police and other relevant security agencies.

Efforts to obtain the reaction of the state Police Command’s Public Relations Officer, Moses Yamu to confirm whether the matter has been reported to them as said by the governor, proved abortive as he could not pick up his calls. 

The governor disclosed this at an interactive session between the church, traditional institutions and other stakeholders on the peaceful conduct of the 2019 general elections organized by the Makurdi Catholic Diocese held at the Pastoral Center in Makurdi.

“The armed herdsmen, according to the intelligence report, have vowed to ensure that all my security aides were killed after which they would Kidnap me, torture me before killing me. Already, l have 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”.

Ortom also alleged that some prominent Benue indigenes were allegedly conniving with other forces in Abuja to kill him, and urged the federal government to immediately rise up to bring to an end the killings across the country by armed herdsmen militia to pave way for peaceful election in 2019.

He noted that most of the polling units in the crisis affected areas in the area have been destroyed and taken over by the insurgents as their grazing fields.

“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 the larger proportion of Nigerians from voting for leaders of their choice”.

“The 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 the Nigeria nation especially as we are heading towards 2019”. 

The governor expressed worry that indigenes of the state have become refugees in their own land, adding that pockets of killings were still going on in four local government areas of the state including Guma, Katsina-Ala, Makurdi and Logo. 

Ortom said a good number of farmlands located along the border between Taraba and Nasarawa States have been taken over by the invaders thereby preventing original owners of the land who are taking refuge in IDP camps from returning home. 

Ortom, who admonished the International Community to beam its searchlight on states affected by herdsmen crisis to help bring the situation to an abrupt end, urged traditional rulers to go back and enlighten their subjects on the need to register with INEC and obtain their Permanent Voters Card (PVC’s) which is the only way to vote out leaders with questionable. 

Speaking to journalists, Catholic Bishop of Makurdi, Bishop Wilfred Anagbe said that over 306 traditional rulers, youths, members of both Catholic Women Organization (CWO) and Catholic Men Organization (CMO) and other stakeholders were invited for the meeting to educate them on the need for violence free polls come 2019.

Bishop Anagbe noted Nigeria has been ravaged by violent crisis in the last few years, saying it was pertinent on the church to meet and discuss with the traditional rulers who are instruments of peace in their domains to enlighten their subjects that no politician should intimidate, coerce or induce them to vote against their conscience.

“Tiv land, Benue land and Nigeria as a whole has been traumatized by series of violent crisis in the past few years and now that elections are around the corner, people are taking advantage of this. 

“We have had enough of bloodshed. Let us now do politics that is devoid of violence. If anyone comes to deceive you with whatever inducement, you must be able to resist it”.

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