By Matthew Ajai-Kume, Godwin Edeh, Margaret Oraza, Esther Akaa and Faith Igbudu
Nigerians from different walks of life have unanimously called on the Federal Government to, as matter of urgent priority, identify, arrest and prosecute all those involved in the failed assassination attempt on Governor Samuel Ortom by armed men, suspected to be Fulani herdsmen.
Armed men suspected to be herdsmen shot at Governor Ortom last week when he had gone to his farm situated at Tyo Mu, on the outskirts of Makurdi.
Reacting to the incident, a cross section of Nigerians condemned the attack and renewed their call on the Federal Government to carry out proper investigation into the attack with a view to exposing those behind it.
It will be recalled that although the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu has since directed the Commissioner of Police in Benue State, CP Audu Madaki to take adequate measures towards strengthening and improving security around the governor.
Those that spoke with The Voice on the matter, however, opined that more needed to be done.
President Muhammadu Buhari who himself condemned the attack and has since met with the governor, promised that no stone will be left unturned in trying to unravel those behind the dastardly act.
However, some Nigerians have canvassed that in order to permanently end the heinous activities of armed herdsmen, federal government must stop paying lip service to the threat posed by the activities of armed herdsmen.
This position is further strengthened by claim of responsibility by a group known as Fulani Nationality Movement (FUMNA), led by its leader, Umar Amir Shehu. They claimed that the reason to kill the governor stems from his constant fight against interests of the Fulani.
Special Adviser to Benue State Governor on Bureau of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Barrister Ken Achabo while describing the attack as barbaric and a deliberate affront on constituted authority, Benue State Government and the entire Tiv nation, said the herdsmen should be arrested with immediate effect.
He said, “the attack was unprovoked and there is urgent need for security operatives to fish out the assailants and prevent further occurrence of the dastardly act.”
Also, Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Benue state, Rev. Akpen Leva, has called for the immediate arrest and prosecution of the killer herdsmen, especially the Fulani National Movement (FUNAM) for their claim on assassination attempt on Governor Samuel Ortom.
“No country can be loosed and lawless like this except Nigeria. How can one claim responsibility of assassination attempt, threat to lives, killing of armless citizens and destruction of property and yet walk the streets free? This is capable of threatening the corporate existence of our beloved nation. This is why we again hasten to call on the federal government to as a matter of urgency direct the security operatives to without delay arrest those claiming responsibility for such a devilish act,” Leva said.
Meanwhile, Benue youths, under the aegis of the youth wing of the socio-cultural groups – the Mdzough U Tiv, Opihatoha K’Idoma, Ominyi’Igede and National Union of Benue State Students (NUBESS) have condemned the assassination attempt, saying it is high time actions of armed Fulani herdsmen are checked by government.
President-General, Mdzough U Tiv, youth wing, Mr Timothy Hembaor called on the Federal Government to speak out against the attack as well as find lasting solution to the incessant attacks by armed Fulani herdsmen.
Similarly, President-General, Opitoha K’Idoma youth wing, Mr Inalegwu Adakole, described the attack on Governor Ortom as totally unacceptable while Secretary-General, Ominyi Igede, Mr John Ogah said the assassination attempt on Governor Ortom by suspected Fulani militia is an act of anarchy. They called on security agencies to work hard, in order to bring the perpetrators of the heinous act to book.
The groups said in a statement: “We, in our organization view this well coordinated attack as a desperate attempt by frustrated and disgruntled elements to kill the governor and truncate the full implementation of the heralded anti-open grazing law in Benue state and Nigeria at large.”
It said the association is apprehensive of the attack on the governor few days after the leadership of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore had issued unguided threats on the governor through a video clip which was circulated on the social media, accusing him (Ortom) of single handedly master minding the initiation and implementation of the anti-open grazing law in the state and Nigeria.
“It is therefore, logical and meaningful for any sane minded person to establish a link between the issued threats and the orchestrated attack on Governor Samuel Ortom as a basis for proper investigation by security agencies.
“The association also frowns at the continuous refusal or unwillingness on the side of the federal government, and her security outfits to arrest and prosecute the leadership of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, which has on several occasions threatened violence and or owned up to several criminal activities in the country.
“It must be made known that the leadership of Miyetti Allah is not above the law and can never be allowed to be perpetually shielded, compromised and probably granted immunity unquestionably by the powers that be,” the statement added.
In a related development, association of media professionals of Benue origin under the aegis of Conference of Benue Journalists (CBJ), condemned in strong terms, the assassination attempt on Governor Ortom by men suspected to be killer herdsmen.
CBJ Vice President, Ewache Ajefu, noted with sadness that the attempt on the life of Governor Ortom and the recent killing of the brother of one of the former governors in the state is a deliberate effort to make the State ungovernable.
Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Mrs Ngunan Addingi has stated that attempt by Fulani militia to kill Governor Ortom is uncalled for. She insisted that the governor has done nothing wrong to warrant such kind of treatment, urging security agencies to arrest perpetrators of the inhumane act.