Nigerians shouldn’t politicise my attack, says Ortom

The Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, on Monday appealed to Nigerians not to politicise the attack on him, saying it was beyond partisan politics.

The governor on Saturday had said about 15 herdsmen, who were dressed in black, shot at him and his entourage on his farm, where he claimed that he had to run a distance of about 1.5 kilometres to escape.

But addressing journalists after the State Security Council meeting at the New Banquet Hall of the Government House, Makurdi, on Monday, Ortom said he was not the first governor to be attacked in recent times.

He said, “The Borno State governor, who is an APC governor, was once attacked. It is me today; it may be another person tomorrow.

“What we need is that all of us should join hands together to stop this because our country is sitting on a keg of gunpowder and we should avoid anything that can make it explode.

“Even when this thing happened, there were patriotic Fulani men who called, so it is beyond partisan politics because any life lost can never be restored.”

While applauding the decision of the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, to investigate the matter, Ortom said he was waiting to be invited by the investigating team.

He noted that this was not the first time the Fulani Nationality Movement would threaten him and carry out the threat.

“In 2018 when 73 people were killed, FUNAM claimed responsibility. When people were killed in June same year in Plateau, FUNAM came out and claimed responsibility and now they have claimed responsibility.

“Two weeks ago, Miyetti Allah Kataore held a meeting in Yola and singled me out as the one creating problems for the Fulani race in Nigeria and I am not against anyone. Many of them live happily in Benue and are doing their legitimate business,” Ortom said.

Meanwhile, the minority caucus in the House of Representatives has said it is alarmed by the assassination attempt on Ortom.

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In a statement on Monday by the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Ndudi Elumelu, the caucus insisted on a full scale investigation of the incident with a view to bringing the assailants and their masterminds to justice.

The statement partly read, “The attack on Governor Ortom has again brought to the fore, apprehensions of alleged lapses in our security architecture, particularly given that the attack came on the heels of his continuous distress call to the Federal Government to take decisive steps to guarantee the security of life and property in his state.”

Afenifere sympathises with Ortom

Also, the pan Yoruba socio-cultural and political organisation, Afenifere, has sympathised with Ortom.

The group in a statement by its leader, Pa Ayo Adebanjo, berated the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), over his statement that the attack should not be politicised.

The Afenifere leader said the President should desist from pretending that he was not aware his Fulani kinsmen were the perpetrators of most of the killings the country had witnessed in recent time.

“Rather than help the people of Benue, the President told an embattled Ortom when he approached the Presidency for help in 2018 to make peace with his neighbours,” Pa Adebanjo said.

Adebanjo added that restructuring remained the only way out of the doldrums for the nation.

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