Ortom meets Buhari over attack by suspected herders

Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom on Tuesday met with
President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja over recent
assassination attempt on his life by assailants suspected to be
herders.
The Benue governor told state house reporters after the
closed-door meeting at the Presidential Villa that they shared
ideas on how to manage the security situation in the country.
He appealed for the moderation of comments on the attack
since, according to him, Nigeria is already sitting on a
gunpowder keg.
Buhari had on Sunday ordered security agencies to carry out
what he called an “open and transparent” investigation into
the attack. He also advised that the incident should not be
politicised.
Ortom was attacked Saturday by about 15 armed herdsmen on
his farm at Tya-mu, along the Makurdi-Gboko Highway. He
disclosed shortly after the incident that he ran about one
kilometre to save his life.
A group, the Fulani Nationalistic Movement (FUNAM) claimed
responsibility for the attack, vowing to persist until they
succeed in killing the governor whom they described as
enemy of the Fulani.
Narrating his ordeal again after the meeting with Buhari,
Ortom added that the President agreed with him that no
person or group should be treated as a sacred cow.
The governor said the suspected herdsmen trailed his convoy
to a riverbank where he was on foot with his security details
and opened fire on them.
He called on Nigerians, especially politicians, to leave anxiety
about the 2023 elections for now and pay attention to the
insecurity in the country.
The governor said: ”I want to let Nigerians know, especially
those who are responsible for making inflammatory
statements; we’re sitting on a keg of gunpowder, everybody’s
not in doubt in Nigeria today about the security situation and
without security, there can be no meaningful progress going
on.
“It is therefore important for us all to put heads together and
do the things that are lawful. Let us protect the provisions of
the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria so that
everybody will be secure.
“Let there be equity, fairness, and justice. These are what I
stand for. I believe that as my President, I do not want to talk
about the recommendations. I have been able to recommend
in some measures, and most of them agreed that nobody
should be a sacred cow.
“If people are found wanting, they should be prosecuted. And I
think this is what is good.”
Ortom also dismissed insinuations that the attack on him was
stage-managed. He expressed sadness over such thoughts.
His words; ”I want to advise like I said earlier, Mr. President
did advise when he was condemning the attack on me, and
pleaded with Nigerians that they should not politicise this
matter.
“I want to appeal; I want to beg everyone that we should not
politicise the issue of attempted assassination on myself.
“If a governor is attacked, then it is an attack on all. And I
appreciate my colleagues in the Nigerian Governors’ Forum,
the Northern Governors’ Forum, the Southsouth Governors
Forum, the PDP(Peoples Democratic Party) Governors’ Forum
and the APC (All Progressives Congress) Governors Forum as
well as state governments.
“We should know when to play politics and we should know
when to team up to work as a team to salvage this country.
Those who are saying that the attack was stage-managed, of
what benefit will that be to me? Do I have to come up and
say that I was attacked?”
On his state’s controversial anti-grazing law, he said it was
not “targeted at any ethnic group or any individual” as being
insinuated.
”That law is meant to regulate the activities of herdsmen and
farmers and I think we have very good stories to talk about
this. Today in Benue State, those who trespass against this
law, who are herders, are arrested, their cattle impounded and
they are prosecuted,” Ortom explained.
The governor also spoke on the 2023 general elections, noting
that though to politicians, the polls are by the corner, the
security situation in the country should take precedence over
election thoughts.

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