***Says Two Policemen Beheaded Monday
Embattled governor of Benue state, Samuel Ortom, has met with President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday, pleading with him to bring an end to the ongoing Fulani herdsmen attacks on communities in the state.
Fielding questions from State House corespondents after the meeting, he revealed that “two of the policemen sent to keep vigil in Logo Local Government Area were on Monday beheaded by the rampaging herdsmen.”
According to him, “And it is taking a different dimension. Just yesterday (Monday) in Logo local government, mobile policemen that were deployed to Logo to keep vigil to protect the people and the land, these militia came, exchanged fire with them, caught two of them and slaughtered them like goats, mobile policemen.
“They shot another one, machetted him and left him in the pool of his blood but luckily he did not die. We have taken him to the hospital, we are treating him. The other one that was declared missing was found today (Tuesday).
“So, when it gets to the level of militia killing security men who are armed and are trained to protect lives and property, is it not taking a dangerous dimension? Who is now safe?” He wondered.
The governor insisted on the arrest and prosecution of the leadership of the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, who he accused of instigating the deadly attacks on Benue communities.
He said: “I believe that my request that the leadership of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, who has earlier threatened and I accused them directly, since June last year I have been writing to the leadership of security agencies, that these people are a threat to our collective interest and they must be dealt with, they must be arrested and prosecuted because we cannot allow impunity to continue to thrive.”
While noting that the attackers are camped in Tungwo, Awe Local Government in Nasarawa State, the Governor was of the view that lack of action had encouraged the attackers to continue there unwholesome activities.
“And of course threat and no action has resulted in this killings and I think that Mr. President will also do the needful to ensure something is done,” he said.
On the suggestion that a full blown military operations be set up in Benue like other parts of the country, Ortom stated: “Anything that can stop the killings of my people I will go for it, I support it, any policy or any directive, anything that will helped stop the killing of these innocent people who are not armed because this can not continue.
“We know that the continuity of this will create greater challenges. I don’t want it to continue. We are struggling with economic issues, we are struggling with political issues and we are struggling with several other issues in this country, security issues and all that, Benue State should not be part of this there is no need for it.
“The law on prohibition of Open Grazing and Establishment of Ranching was made out of the necessity to ensure that we have peace for herdsmen and farmers and that is what we have done.
“The law seeks to protect all and as I talk to you, except this Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, who are instigating people to fight and to kill us, there are Fulani men in Benue State as I talk to you, doing their business.”
The governor said he was ignorant of the cattle colonies being contemplated by the federal government, saying that the best way out of the present crisis is ranching of cattle.
He said: “I’m waiting to be briefed about what colonies means. I don’t understand it and until I understand…but like I keep saying, for us the way forward is ranching and until this time, I am talking to you, the way forward is ranching because is global best practice.
“And it is practiced in other parts of the world, on African soil in Swaziland, South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique almost all African countries that rear cattle, they ranch. So, why can’t we do the same thing here.
“For the colony thing I don’t know what colony is.”
The governor explained that he was at the presidential villa to brief the president on the January 1 attacked which claimed the lives of about 50 innocent citizens in the state.
He stated: “I had earlier briefed Mr. President when this incident took place on the 1st of January. After staying back on the ground to do the needful to ensure that we restore normalcy, I said it was important for me to come personally and brief him and that has been done.
“Already, because of the communications we have been having when this incidents started, actions have been taken as directed by him.
“The movement of the Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG), the movement of the Inspector General (IG) now to relocate to Benue State to ensure that this challenge is surmounted was at the instance of Mr. President.
“Of course, additional personnel of DSS and Police have been deployed and even the Army.
“We have additional personnel on ground now. We have adequately and fully given them the logistics support to ensure that our people are protected.
“I had to brief him, he is also doing further investigation to know the next line of action.”