Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has accused the President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government of being biased over its repeated “defence of armed herders” and its failure to call those causing havoc to order.
Ortom spoke in Markudi, the Benue State capital after his recovery from Covid-19 and wondered how armed herders rated the fourth deadliest terrorist group in the world are “enjoying the protection of the Federal Government”.
“The federal government and the presidency must act fast because we are running out of time. From the North West, North East, North Central, South East, South West and South-South, there is general insecurity, and this is being propelled by armed herdsmen and not until these people are arrested we will not know peace,” the Governor said.
“When I talked I was castigated and vilified. But the reality is here. It is not only in Benue state today, but it is happening to the entire country. I want to repeat again, I have made a petition to the presidency and to all security agencies before that if they want peace in Nigeria the leadership of Miyetti Allah must be arrested.
“These are people who have owned up. They have taken responsibility that they have killed, maimed, raped and also carried out all sorts of atrocities, yet their leadership is in Abuja, and nobody is confronting them. Why is the federal government silent about these Fulani people? When will the Federal Government come out to criticize and arrest herdsmen carrying AK47?
“Are we second class citizens in this country? What makes a Fulani man superior to other citizens of this country? We are not their slaves. And so the Federal Government must act fast.
“At a point in time, the Federal Government came out with a policy through the police that even those with licenced guns should surrender them to the police. My question is, how many times have the presidency come out to condemn Fulani herders that carry AK47 all over the place?
“We stand for justice, equity and fairness. Whatever is happening to a Fulani man should also happen to a Tiv man. That was why I called the Federal Government to licence me and many others to have guns, to have AK-47 too. Because if I have my AK-47 and a Fulani man is coming there, he knows that I have what he has, then we can fight each other.
“The Federal Government is biased and unfair. The failure of our security is caused by the Federal Government. They asked for the arrest of a Yoruba activist (Sunday Igboho) who stood up for his people but nobody is arresting the killer herdsmen.
“You outlawed IPOB for doing nothing but armed herders rated the fourth deadliest terrorist group by global terrorist index is enjoying the protection of the Federal Government. That is not justice.
“In fact, the Federal Government comes out to defend them when you have issues with them, but when they unleash mayhem on the people the Federal Government keeps quiet. I heard of the statement issued by the presidency when the governor of Ondo issued an ultimatum to herders. In fact, the presidency came out swiftly to issue a statement but when armed herders kill our people in Benue and other parts of the country we never hear that kind of swift reaction. It is unacceptable.”
He said, “Mr President, in case you are listening to me, I want you to know that you said that you will be for everybody and for nobody, and now it will appear that you are for Fulani people because nothing is coming from you to give the people confidence that you are their President.
“You are the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, you are not the President of Fulani. You are the President of everybody and I owe you a duty as a stakeholder in this nation to let you know that what is going on is wrong and this has the potential of dividing this country which will not be in the interest of anyone –some of us believe in the unity of this country.”
Speaking further the governor said, “Mr President, if some people are deceiving you that all is well, it is not well with us in Benue State and what I can hear from other states, it is not well with Nigeria today, you must act fast before it is late.”
By Abel Ejikeme