Benue killings: It’s going beyond my powers — Ortom

  • Samuel Ortom said that though he has consistently told the locals not to take the law into their hands, he is losing control of the people
  • The Governor said because of the inaction of the federal government and the persistent killing of innocent women and children by Fulani herdsmen he is losing control of his state
    This came after the Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, criticised President Buhari over his alleged indifference to the Benue killings
  • The Governor spoke with Vanguard Newspaper in an exclusive interview

In an exclusive interview with Vanguard, Governor Ortom, who decried the recurring killing of Benue people by herdsmen, lamented that the matter has now beyond him.

The governor warned that though he has consistently told the people of the state not to take the law into their hands, he is losing control of the people because of the persistent killing of innocent women and children by Fulani herdsmen and the inaction of the federal government.

He said: “You can see that it is getting beyond me. Even when there was protest against the recent killings in Makurdi, and I went there, there was massive resistance. It became violent and it is even God that saved us. I would have been attacked.

“When I came into office, there was proliferation of arms and ammunition in the state. I declared an amnesty programme that saw massive retrieval of arms from our youths. I pleaded with them that the way to develop is not by taking the laws into their hands but by obeying the laws. I have resisted the temptation to say that our people should protect themselves because I trusted the president. I believed that he has the capacity to protect us. But from what is happening, I am sure some people around him are frustrating our communication with him and the actions to be taken. Otherwise, the president I know will not allow this kind of thing to be happening. We have not committed any offence.

“We have no regret passing the anti-open grazing law. The law came as a necessity because of the killings in Benue State by the herdsmen. We sought peaceful ways of resolving the matter but we could not. We tried everything under the sun to ensure that we stopped these killings but it was not possible so we prayed and God gave us wisdom to enact that law, which gives protection to the farmers and the herdsmen. We have not sent cattle rearers away from Benue, we are simply saying there are modern ways of rearing cattle, which is to ranch them. With that, farmers can go their legitimate ways of doing their business and those who are rearing cattle can also continue. I am surprised at the resistance of the herders.”

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