Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State took to his heels like a sprinter as a band of gunmen closed-in on his team on his farm turf, he says.
The incident occurred at Tyo-mu which lies along the Makurdi-Gboko Road on March 20, 2021.
The governor says his security personnel had to repel the gun attack from about 15 rampaging gunmen.
He also says he was saved by his fitness levels.
“I appreciate the security men attached to me. They were able to repel them and they could not have access to me.
“And I thank God for my fitness to have run for more than one and a half kilometres without stopping. It means that God has given me strength and I am grateful to God,” Ortom says
Ortom has been waging a war against killer herders of Fulani extraction, who have been accused of destroying farmlands across Nigeria with their cattle.
“I don’t have problems with any Fulani man or Fulani race. But I have a problem with Fulani bandits who have vowed to take over Nigeria as their ancestral home. And I say no. Not when I am here and when I am governor leading my state.
“If I can’t go to farm as a governor with the entire security around me, then who else can go to farm? You can imagine the pains that we have here in Benue State.
“Thank God for Mr. President who responded to my letter that anyone with AK-47 should be shot on sight. I’m yet to see that. Let me see it happen in Benue State.
“I have reported this to the security agencies and I hope that this will be done so that the land will be safe for our people to go back to farm and do their work and survive and live their lives.
“I want to call on Mr. President, on the security agencies to fish these people out. They are in the forest between Makurdi and Abinse.
“They are living there and they are coming out to commit atrocities – rape women, kill our people, maim them, destroy our farmlands. And anytime the security agencies go after them, they run across the river and back to the forest,” he adds.
The governor of Rivers, Nyesom Wike, has threatened to end Nigeria if anything happens to Ortom.
However, a former Chairman of Miyetti Allah in Benue State, Garus Gololo, says Ortom’s tale is simply propaganda and decoy which he deploys in a bid to avoid paying salaries every month.
“There are no herdsmen in the area he is talking about.
“I grew up in Makurdi. What I understand is that towards the end of every month, he will bring up herdsmen issue to confuse the workers.
“For almost two years, he has not paid salaries, and for almost three years, he has not paid pensions”, Gololo says.
“Every of his problems is herdsmen. I think today is 20th, so he is looking for an excuse not to pay salary.
“Herdsmen have no grudges against Ortom. He was invited to Port Harcourt where he saw what Wike is doing.
“You as a journalist, how many times have you reported what Ortom did? Have you seen any project that he did? He does not know what he is doing,” Gololo tells The Nation.
Nigeria has been battling a recurring herdsmen-farmers crisis for decades.
Source: Pulse Nigeria