THE Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom, on Tuesday told President Muhammadu Buhari to remove the toga of being president of Fulani herdsmen alone and be a president to all the over 250 ethnic groups in the country, just as he accused the president of working for the Fulani tribe to take over Nigeria.
Ortom made the allegation while reacting to the recent killing of residents in a fresh attack where suspected Fulani herdsmen invaded Abegana village, the host community to one of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps in Benue State in the early hours of Tuesday and killed seven people, while several others were injured.
The governor stated that “we are being overstretched and the people are fed up. We all voted President Buhari. He must not continue to be aloof. He must tell us where we are going in this country. This is too much. The body language of the president shows that he is the president of the Fulani people. I have written to him on this, yet he has not done anything about it. We are now in a Banana Republic. This falsehood must stop.
“The president must address us and not him sending Garba Shehu to address us. It is better for me not to be alive than to see this kind of shame. Governors must rise to ensure that state of emergency is declared on insecurity. This government is not being proactive. The president must convene a security summit before it is too late,” the governor said.
Governor Ortom, who decried the incessant killings of people in the state by suspected Fulani herdsmen, confirmed that 70 people were killed in three local government areas of the state — Makurdi, Guma and Gwer West — in the past two weeks and seven were killed at Abegana IDP camp.
“What is happening now, to me, is very clear; Mr President is just working for these Fulanis to take over the whole country. The body language, the action and inaction of Mr President shows that he is only the President of Fulani people; I have known this. If we have a president who gave the security agencies order to shoot at sight, whosoever is having AK-47 and the Minister of Defence came out to say that they cannot shoot at sight; who is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces?” he queried.
He reiterated that the activities of herdsmen in the country must be condemned and people should come together to hold the president accountable, adding that “he has taken the oath of office to secure the country and provide security for lives and property; this is unacceptable, this cannot continue.”
According to an eyewitness suspected herdsmen had stormed Abegana village around midnight, surrounded the community which is about eight kilometres to Makurdi, the state capital and located on Makurdi/Lafia road and shot sporadically. This incident sparked off protest by youths who barricaded the federal highway where they displayed six of the corpses and prevented vehicular movement until the governor went there and ordered that the roadblock be dismantled.
Meanwhile, the President-General of the Tiv Socio-Cultural Organisation, MzoughU-Tiv Worldwide, Iorbee Ihagh, has appealed to President Buhari to stop killings by Fulani herdsmen in the state, threatening that Tiv people would resort to self-help if the killings do not stop.
According to him, with the high rate of insecurity in the country, Nigeria is on life support and the president must act fast before it is too late, adding that “the message I am sending to the president is that enough is enough. The killing in Benue is enough. He should do something about it. If not, we are going to react. Even though we don’t have AK-47, we will do what we did in 1804 during the Jihad war.”
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