Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom, has again raised the alarm that Fulani herdsmen were planning to kidnap, torture and kill him along Makurdi-Lafia highway.
Ortom disclosed this on Friday at an interactive session with the church, traditional institution and other stakeholders for peaceful elections in 2019, organised by the Makurdi Catholic Diocese and held at the Pastoral Center in Makurdi, the state capital.
The governor who spoke in his native Tiv Language, said he got an intelligence report that the herdsmen who are currently occupying part of Guma local government area of the state, were planning to attack him along Abuja-Lafia Road.
He said the armed herdsmen, according to the intelligence report, would ensure that all his security aides were killed first, then kidnap and torture, before they kill him. He also said that he had reported the matter to the police and other security agencies.
The governor who also alleged that some Benue indigenes were conniving with other forces in Abuja to kill him stressed the need for the federal government to urgently address the killings across Nigeria to pave way for a peaceful election in 2019.
He disclosed that most of the polling units in the crisis affected areas have been destroyed and taken over by the Fulani herdsmen as their grazing fields.
“The killings across Nigeria is a deliberate attempt by some people, whether Boko Haram, armed bandits or herdsmen, to disenfranchise a large proportion of Nigerians.
“Amnesty international had come out to disclose that over 19,000 people have lost their lives in Benue, Taraba, Kaduna, Nasarawa and Plateau states to herdsmen attacks and this does not speak well of Nigeria nation especially as we are heading towards 2019.”
While lamenting that Benue indigenes have become destitute and refugees in their own father lands, Ortom further disclosed that pockets of killings were still going on in Makurdi, Guma, Logo and Katsina Ala local government areas of the state.
He explained further that most of the farmlands along the borderlines of Taraba and Nasarawa states have been taken over by herdsmen militia who currently occupy the areas to the detriment of the indigenes.
“Even though, a goat doesn’t bite, but when you continue to provoke the goat, the goat will one day turn back and bite you.”
He attributed the success of his administration’s amnesty programme to the support given to him by the leadership of the Catholic Church in the state.
While calling on International Communities to beam their searchlights on states affected by herdsmen crisis, the governor enjoined traditional rulers to enlighten their subjects on the need to register and obtain their PVCs.
Also speaking at the event, the Catholic Bishop of Makurdi, His Lordship, Wilfred Anagbe, disclosed that over 306 traditional rulers, youths, members of both Catholic Women Organisation (CWO) and Catholic Men Organisation as well as other stakeholders were invited for the meeting to educate them on a violence free election ahead of 2019.
The bishop noted that Nigeria had been ravaged by violent crisis in the last few years and maintained that it was pertinent on the church to meet and discuss with the traditional rulers who are instruments of peace in their domains, to enlighten their subjects that no politician should intimidate, coerce or induce them to vote against their conscience.
“Tiv Land, Benue and Nigeria as a whole, have been traumatised by a series of violent crisis in the past and now that elections are around the corner, people are taking advantage of this.”
“We are trying to let them get into the picture of having to be instruments of peace in their locality because these are the people at the grassroots.
“We have had enough of bloodshed. Let us now do politics that is devoid of violence. If anyone comes to deceive them with whatever inducement, they must be able to resist it,” he said.