Killings: Buhari ignored invitation to Benue – Ortom

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has said there will be no campaign for 2019 elections in the state if there is no solution to herdsmen and farmers’ clashes in the state.

73 indigenes were killed on New year day in the state. They were subsequently given mass burial.

The governor said this during a television programme at the weekend, where he disclosed that he invited President Muhammadu Buhari to come to Benue and condole with the people over the killings and destruction of their property.

Ortom said the president didn’t honour the invitation.

Continuing, the governor said as president, it is Buhari’s duty to provide citizens of the country with security but has failed to take the required action to curb the killings.

“We invited the president when we visited him in Abuja; that he should come to Benue state and extend his condolences to his people. Because we are members of the party, he is our president. If these people are attacking us, we expect him to give us security.

“He has done a number of things. He directed NEMA to provide relief materials, he also asked for security to be beefed up but I am not satisfied with what the presidency is doing on this matter. There is no doubt about that.

“I ask for justice for Benue people because we have not been treated fairly… These herdsmen militia even killed policemen. The herdmen have gone beyond grazing. It’s about taking over our lands. For now, my primary concern is to stop these killings; to ensure that the Internally Displaced Persons go back to their homes and live peacefully. Once that is done, we can talk about other things.

“I don’t care about what happens tomorrow. Even if I am not governor, I can stay back and fight for the right of my people.

Ortom said herdsmen attacks on Benue are acts of vengeance for losing the 1804 Jihad. because Benue people stopped them from penetrating the state through Sokoto.

He said although he did not know the level of “support the herders get from the presidency”, he is sure that press statements by the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association are issued by “people living in Abuja. These people have gone beyond grazing; it is about invading the land and taking over. All the places they have attacked, they have chased the people away and they are using their farmlands produce as feed for their cattle,” he said.

“They are convening international conferences, issuing press releases and writing on social media and they have come out to say ‘look, in 1804 Jihad, it was Benue people who stopped them from penetrating from Sokoto to the sea. And this time around, they are not going to stop.’ They will make sure that the mobilise all Fulani men across the globe, especially from the West African sub-region to ensure that they acquire arms and come and invade and take over the land because they also said that Nigeria is the only land that God has given them, so no other person will supervene on this land except them. That it is their own land, they got this land by conquest and we have no business staying on this land. It is unbelievable. The statement is coming from Miyetti Allah.

“Well, I wouldn’t know about their patrons or the extent of their involvement. But one thing I know is that the people that have been issuing these press conferences and statements are known. They are living in Abuja, they are living with the powers that be of threats from Miyetti Allah; we reported them to the Presidency, we reported them to the security agencies and we expected them to have acted because, in a Federation, we are empowered by the Constitution, to make laws for good governance and the peace and security of our citizens. But, the enforcement remains that of the Federal Government because they have the coercive powers and it their responsibility to enforce it…”

Asked why he has not met with the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’adu Abubakar and Lamido Sanusi, emir of Kano, to call the herders to order since the monarchs have associated with the herders, Ortom said it is the responsibility of the federal government to enforce the law.

“Why will I sit down with them? We have constituted authority over this country. We followed due process to enact the law and it is the responsibility of the federal government to enforce the law. We expected them to have acted,” he said.

Meanwhile, Senate President, Bukola Saraki has assured Nigerians that the federal government is committed to security of lives and property in every part of the country.

He said the Legislature will continue to collaborate with the Executive, to ensure that Nigerians are safe, wherever they live across the country.

Saraki gave the assurance in Kaiama, Kwara State,yesterday, where he had gone to commiserate with the Emir of the community, Alhaji Shehu Omar, over recent attacks on the community by unknown gunmen which left scores of residents dead.