By Sunday Iduh
Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has again said the state will give the necessary support to her young men to enable them protect the state against attacks by her enemies.
The governor, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Anthony Ijohor stated this Friday at Gbeji, Ukum Local Government during a visit to the community to access the level of destruction caused by herdsmen, who attacked the community on Wednesday.
Governor Ortom, who decried the failure of the Federal Government in living up to its responsibility of protecting the people said he was yet to get response from the FG on his request for approval to enable the state purchase sophisticated weapons for the community volunteer guards.
He commiserated with the people and assured them that state government will ensure that they get the necessary support.
The Speaker, Benue State House of Assembly and governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Titus Uba lamented the continued silence of the Federal Government. “We have cried to the appropriate quarter but yet to get response. We are saying the FG should give Benue the licence to carry weapons the way it has allowed other states to bear arms,” he said.
Speaking on the incessant attacks, the Senator representing Benue North West Senatorial District, Gabriel Suswam maintained that the failure of the Federal Government to protect the people will eventually make the people to protect themselves.
“The implication of this in most societies is that, they will be war lords. When people take the protection of their lives into their own hands, you will begin to have war lords. I prayed that we don’t get to that level but we are there already.
“The security operatives have been overstretched. Among those killed are two police men, who were here to protect the people. There are few police personnel here. They couldn’t cope with the fire power.
“The security operatives themselves don’t a sense of protection. How can they protect the people they are supposed to protect,” he stated.
He commended the bravery of the security operatives. “They have tried their best but under the circumstances, they are overstretched.
“My people are crying and appealing that, if indeed we have a government, that government should take decisive action,” he maintained.
According to him, “a week ago, I was in another community where 22 people were killed and so many others are still in the hospital. Within the same radius, today we have 36 people that have been killed, including two police personnel. We are told others are still missing
“This criminal herdsmen are not even afraid of the uniform. They have the audacity. The Federal Government that is supposed to protect us is silent. They don’t know what is happening.
“In this circumstances, we will begin to encourage our people to protect themselves. We must protect ourselves. We can not be sleeping. These are peasant men and women that are in the rural areas managing their lives. They have been killed and decapitated, and their homes destroyed.
“As the senator representing these people, I feel very sad and bad with the kind of government that we have. It is unfortunate that we elected a Federal Government that we thought will protect us. That Federal Government has gone to sleep,” he stated.
He sympathized with the families of the deceased and those who were hospitalized and assured them that necessary measures would be taken to ameliorate their sufferings.
“We will cry unto God, because where man fails God steps in. Our cry now is to God. It is only God that will save us. We will cry and asked for directions. I believe God will direct us right. God is God that direct people right. When the Israelites were invaded, he directed Gideon to select only 300 people who were men. We will direct our young men to also protect these communities. We have had enough. Enough is enough.
“We can not sit back in Makurdi or Abuja and watch our brothers and sisters, who are the providers of the food we have been eating in town to be killed in this manner,” he stated.
Recall that herdsmen attacked Gbejir community early hours of Wednesday, killing 36 people with several others unaccounted for while many others who sustained various degree of injuries were receiving treatment in the hospital.