The Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, on Wednesday formally presented to the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, a petition on Saturday’s assassination attempt on him.
The PUNCH learnt that the governor presented the petition to the police boss at an early morning meeting the two of them had in Abuja.
Recall that Ortom and his aides were attacked on Saturday on his way to his farm along Makurdi-Gboko Road.
The governor, while narrating his ordeal during a thanksgiving service on Sunday, said he ran over one kilometre to escape assassination.
A group, the Fulani Nationality Movement, had claimed responsibility for the attack, fuelling calls by groups and individuals on the nation’s security agencies to unmask the people behind the group and bring them to book.
But the Nigeria Police Force and the Department of State Services have so far kept mum on the calls.
Our correspondent learnt that after the governor met the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Tuesday and formally briefed him on the incident, he decided to also meet with the IGP.
A source close to the governor said, “Yes, the governor met with the IGP earlier today (Wednesday) to formally report the incident to him.
“Of course, we know that the IGP is already aware of the incident. He had even earlier ordered an investigation but we are not unmindful of the fact that when a crime is committed, a formal complaint must be made to the police.
“This was why His Excellency decided to submit a formal complaint to the IGP today (Wednesday) after he had met with the President on Tuesday.
“It was a sign that the governor believes in the police to carry out thorough investigation into the matter.”
When contacted on the telephone, the Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, confirmed that the governor and the IGP met in Abuja.
Mba, a Commissioner of Police, said, “It is true that Governor Samuel Ortom and IGP Adamu met this (Wednesday) morning in Abuja.
“The governor came to the meeting with a formal petition on the incident which he submitted to the IGP.
“IGP Adamu has treated the petition expeditiously. He has directed the Deputy Inspector-General of Police in charge of the Force Intelligence Bureau, Tijjani Baba, to continue investigation into the matter.
“You know that we (the police) have already started handling the matter even before the governor submitted the petition.”
When asked if any arrest has been made in relation to the attack on the governor, the FPRO said, “Not to my knowledge. If there is any (arrest), I should know.”
Ortom himself had earlier shared a photograph of himself and the IGP on his official Twitter handle with a caption “Earlier today with “PoliceNG IG Mohammed Adamu after a meeting in Abuja.”
Herders took up arms because nobody listened to their grievances – Gumi
Meanwhile, an Islamic cleric, Ahmad Gumi, on Wednesday, said if bandits were not assured of their safety and rehabilitation, they would not surrender.
Gumi, who said this during a virtual event on Nigeria’s security challenges organised by the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies, stated that the herders took up arms when nobody listened to their grievances.
The cleric said there was no reason why the government should not hold talks with the bandits who were willing to negotiate.
Gumi said, “Nobody can justify criminality. What we are saying is what we saw in the forest is an ethnic war going on between people in the forest and the neighbouring villages and hamlets. When the herder felt he had grievances and nobody was listening to him, he took up arms.
“So when we went there and they saw a listening ear, they were ready to negotiate, tell us their grievances, and ready to incorporate into society. So in such a case, I see no reason why we should not have a dialogue with them.
Gumi said if bandits were not shown that they would be safe when reintegrated into society, they would not give up their arms.
He said, “Looking at their educational status, they don’t have any official or unofficial education. How can a nation which is serious about security leave a chunk of its society so uneducated, leave it to arms and drugs? I don’t think that society is serious. How can we disperse them, rehabilitate them because they are holding arms to protect themselves.
“If you don’t show them they’re safe in the larger society, there’s no way they can leave their weapon. And that’s why we asked for amnesty for them just like we had in the Niger Delta.
“I’m not justifying their kidnapping. What they do is criminal. But their kidnapping is to get more money to buy more weapons so that they can protect themselves.”