By Raymond Bemseer Magen
The totally condemnable attempt on the life of Gov Samuel Ortom of Benue State has triggered an avalanche of reactions. Most reactions are telling in their degree of empathy and outright condemnation of the attacks. There is also, a readying of highly skilled police personnel to thoroughly investigate and possibly arrest the culprits.
However, politically motivated attempts at altering the narrative, casting doubts on the ugly incident and impugning motives, have been activated.
There are various camps for internally displaced persons in Benue State. In all of these camps, you will find elderly men and women whose survival came from fleeing several kilometers even at dead of night. Incidentally, it has become a material for mockery by negative news peddlers, the fact that Gov Ortom had to run for his life towards his cars parked at least 1.5kilometers away. The attempt at creating disbelief is especially futile as that distance is nothing compared to what many other Nigerians, old and young, pregnant women as well, have had to cover while fleeing from bandits.
Unashamedly though, the spin masters have again followed up with their relentless efforts at tarnishing the Governor’s image. They now claim the attack was stage managed with motive at land grabbing! This latest funny claim is coming on the heels of unsuccessful attempts at denying there was an attack.
In furtherance of the lie, a non-existing group (Tyo Mu Concerned Youths Vanguard) with a faceless individual named Vershima Tsebee as the group’s leader, has been credited with advancing this latest ridiculous assertion. The individual claims that the Government has done nothing about the crisis between the Kparev and Ihyarev people at Tyo Mu. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Owing to the recurring intra-tribal clashes between the Kparev and Ihyarev people at Tyo Mu, the Benue State Governor constituted a high powered committee comprising traditional, political, religious and opinion leaders from Tyo Mu. The Committee headed by the Secretary to the State Government met even as recently as yesterday to collate and consider her final reports preparatory for submission to the Governor.
While this report is being finalized and readied for submission, the State Government has ensured through continuous dialogue and deployment of security personnel, a cessation of armed hostilities at Tyo Mu. Furthermore, in yielding to the demands of the community leaders, the Government released all those who were arrested when the crisis began. This partnering relationship in conflict resolution between the Government and the communities at Tyo Mu, has deepened the trust in the peace efforts and ensured sustained cessation of hostilities.
One therefore, wonders how the spurious claims by the faceless group are anything near the truth. We call a lie to this shameless fabrication. Gov Samuel Ortom remains committed to riding the State of criminal elements. He also remains resolute on the enforcement of the anti open grazing law for which no amount of blackmail nor intimidation would sway him.
Investigations are on going in the matter of the attacks on the Governor. We are hopeful that the culprits shall be apprehended. We are also hopeful that the State Government’s Committee on the Tyo Mu crisis shall make submissions that will ensure lasting peace amongst the people of Tyo Mu. In the interim, we ask all lovers of peace to continue to steer from inflammatory remarks and actions capable of undoing the peace efforts currently in play.
Magen who is the Principal Special Assistant on New Media to Goveenor Samuel Ortom writes from Makurdi.