Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State says he has made several appeals to the Muhammadu Buhari-led Presidency to arrest the leadership of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore who vowed to ensure that blood flows in the state because it enacted a law against open grazing.
Herders-farmers clashes have claimed several lives in Benue in recent months.
As a result of the wanton killings, many communities have been in disarray, and residents seeking refuge in Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps are scattered across the state.
Speaking through his Principal Special Assistant on Media, Nathaniel Ikyur, on Monday, Ortom declared that some apologists of the President are sponsoring media attacks against him because he refused to be silent over the killings perpetrated by armed herders in the state.
The governor explained that it would be dangerous to be silent while people of the state were being killed, hence he would keep speaking the truth to those in power.
He said, “The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr is quoted to have made this profound statement: ‘Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.’ This has been the mindset of Samuel Ortom since he was elected the 5th democratic Governor of Benue State in 2015. To date, he has maintained that position: seeking to do only that which is for the good of the people of the state who elected him. That’s why he speaks truth to power. He believes keeping mute when scores of Benue people are hacked to death will be too dangerous. Understandably, his position on any issue has never been popular from the onset. But with time, it gains ascendancy and acceptance.
“Benue has been badly hit by herdsmen attacks. Scores have been killed and many wounded irredeemably while others have their ancestral lands taken away. Some of our mothers and daughters have been raped and maimed by the gang of killers. Governor Ortom has made several representations to the Presidency for the arrest of the leadership of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore who have vowed to ensure that blood flows in Benue because the state enacted a law against open grazing.
“Sadly, there is an upsurge now among willing Benue State indigenes who are ready to lead a smear campaign against Governor Samuel Ortom and get paid for discrediting him for standing by his people. These are the recruits into the antagonist camp against the Ortom administration. They are promised handouts from the centre so they don’t care whether their state burns. I call them the sons of Iscariot. They would rather swim in the blood of their hapless relations who are being slaughtered by agents of death, the Fulani herdsmen. They are now concocting all manner of tales to sell their wares for the peanuts they’ve been promised.
“The other day, it was the one-man ‘Benue Patriotic Front’ of Dan Morgan-Ihomun. This time, one Comrade Timothy Tor, whose real identity seems to be hidden behind some political weaklings whose past and present records are in shambles. They come under the faceless ‘Benue Proactive Coalition for Good Governance.’ Their voices are only heard now just to please their paymasters. If I may ask, where were they when Fulani herdsmen attacked and killed thousands of Benue people and destroyed communities? Why were their voices not heard then?
“Governor Ortom was elected to lead the people of the state. He speaks to clear doubts about where his allegiance lies. And so why is ‘Comrade Tor’ so bothered about what the Governor has been saying to the President? For goodness’ sake, President Buhari is the Commander in Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces? The President appoints all the service chiefs. As such, they are his appointees and not those of the Governors. No wonder, President Muhammadu Buhari singled Governor Ortom out during his interview with Arise Television. Or could these fictional groups be said to be the handiwork of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore?
“If the faceless group is convinced that Governor Ortom does not speak the minds of Benue people who elected him, let the group come to the state and address the people. The reaction they will get from the people will clear their doubts. Why do they sit in Abuja to criticise the Benue State Governor?
“In any case, is there any true Benue citizen who does not appreciate the positive impact of the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law on the state of insecurity in Benue? If there is such a man, then surely, the man or woman is not worth his salt. It is therefore surprising that someone could deliberately evade the truth just to foster mischief and earn crumbs while his people are been killed and displaced from their ancestral lands. As we speak, the Nigerian diasporan communities applaud the Governor as a pacesetter. They’re not blinded by the political nuances around here.
“It is a fact that the instrumentality of the law and personal commitment to the safety of the people and peace in the state by the Governor have entrenched relative stability and tranquility. If any Benue man or woman discountenances this, such a person is living in self-denial.
“’Comrade Tor’, the self-styled ‘Benue Proactive Coalition for Good Governance’ advocate and his masters are dumb on the realities of what is threatening the foundation of this country. They talk loosely from one end to the other on issues they’re lacking in understanding.
“For instance, this hireling and those behind him do not understand that the Benue Amnesty Programme under Governor Ortom that made late Terwase Akwaza, aka Gana and his group to surrender in the first place was tailored along with the template of what late President Umaru Yar’Adua did to the Niger Delta militants in 2009. Yar’Adua offered unconditional pardon to the militants and cash payments to the rebels who agreed to lay down their arms because it also restored oil production in the zone which had witnessed sabotage, oil siphoning rackets, and kidnappings by criminal gangs. So, engaging Gana in the first place wasn’t a strange decision.”
SaharaReporters, New York