Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has said that it is only in Nigeria that Fulani herdsmen and their cattle are given immunity at the expense of other citizens of the country.
The governor who was reacting to a media statement credited to the Minister of Defense Mansur Dan Ali where he said the new year killings in the state of over 73 farmers was because of the implementation of the Anti Open Grazing Law, said he will not allow any intimidation from anybody distract him.
Governor Ortom who made this known during a condolence visit of Nigerian leadership of International Communion of Charismatic and Evangelical Bishops and Apostle (ICCEBA), said: “I heard and I saw, where the Minister of Defence while briefing journalists said the new year killings in the state were as a result of the Implementation of the Anti Open Grazing Law. I want to believe that the minister was misquoted, otherwise how could someone as highly placed and experienced as the Minister, ascribe a situation where terrorists armed with sophisticated weapons come and attack people in their sleep and farms to a law that was implemented to bring peace to all parties.
I can’t imagine the Minister of Defence saying this kind of thing, but if he does, I want to ask the minister, where he was as the minister of Defence when the Fulani herdsmen were carrying AK47 and even weapons that are more sophisticated than AK47 in the name of rearing cattle and killing my people in their sleep and farms and then he want me to keep quiet, for what? Why am I elected as their governor?”
The Governor decried what he called the inconsistency in what the federal government has been saying about the killings in the state and across the country. According to the Governor, the DSS came up with a report that they discovered a group of terrorists called Islamic State of West Africa (ISWA) that is responsible for the killings in Benue and other parts of the country, in another report the same government said it was foreign herdsmen and called on all Nigerian communities to learn to accommodate foreigners in their areas, “now the same federal government is blaming the killings on the Anti Open grazing law that was implemented in Benue, what about other states like Edo, Enugu, Rivers, Nasarawa and many others whose citizens are also killed by these herdsmen terrorists?
“I think those people saddled with the responsibility of advising the President are misguiding, misinforming and misdirecting him.
“How can a Minister of Defence ask communities to accommodate foreigners who are coming to take over our land, for what? Minister, we will not do that in Benue State.”
Ortom who called ON` The minister to immediately apologise to Benue citizens for making such misleading statement, urged the FG to stop dancing on the blood of those who were slaughtered in cold blood by herdsman terrorists but rather endeavour to live up to its responsibility of protecting lives and properties for the sake of fairness, equity and justice for all citizens.
In a remark, the leader of the group Archbishop Leonard Kawas who presented, a condolence letter to the governor said they were in the state to commiserate with the government and people of the state over the recent killings by suspended Fulani terrorists, said, the church is solidly behind the governor and commend him for standing firm even in the face of stiff opposition.
“We the charismatic Bishops all over the world are 100 percent behind you, for your policies to defend the voiceless. These attacks are well coordinated and sponsored against the defenseless peasant farmers, this attack is also a ploy to exterminate a certain ethnic group in Nigeria and we must unite to stop it.”