[FULL STORY] Attack on Ortom: Citizens may resort to self-help — Mark

Taiwo Amodu, Kehinde Akintola, Johnson Babajide, Jacob Segun Olatunji and Isaac Shobayo 

FORMER president of the Senate, David Mark, on Sunday, led the voice of condemnations, anger and outrage that continued to greet the attack on the convoy of Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State at the weekend. 

Mark, in a statement signed by his media aide, Paul Mumeh, described security situation under the Muhammadu Buhari administration as scandalous, as he cautioned that if not addressed, Nigerians might resort to self-help to secure themselves and their immediate environment. 

He said: “If a state governor can be so brazenly attacked, what would they not do to the ordinary citizens. “Let me state clearly that Benue people are receptive and accommodating. But this should not be misconstrued or mistaken for weakness. Enough of this malady. 

“If our government and security operatives can no longer guarantee peoples’ safety in their homes, farms or places of business, I am worried that the situation may compel citizens to resort to self-help and the consequences would be catastrophic. 

“Therefore, the Federal Government and all security agencies must of a necessity come to terms with the painful reality of the unabating insecurity in the land and resolve to end it.” 

Attempt to make Benue ungovernable will fail – Govs 

The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) pointed to ongoing attempts to make Benue State ungovernable which he said will fail woefully. 

In a statement titled, ‘Attempt on Governor Ortom’s life,’ chairman of the forum and Ekiti State governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, urged Ortom to be resolute in his service to Benue people, despite evil machinations. 

He condemned any resort to violence, while urging security agencies to arrest and prosecute those behind the attack against the governor. 

He said: “The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) empathises with the governor and the people of Benue State on this sad, cowardly, and wicked plan and vehemently condemns the act in its entirety. 

“All hands must be on deck to uncover the identities of those involved in this heinous crime. 

“The NGF wishes to state categorically that the attempt to make Benue State ungovernable is unacceptable and will fail woefully. “Only recently, the brother of one of the former governors of the state was mowed down in cold blood.

“This dishonourable and shameful act of resorting to violence, for whatever reason, to eliminate citizens of Benue State by brutal means must not continue. 

“Evil will not be allowed to triumph over good, not in Benue and not anywhere in this country. 

“While all governors will continue to pray for Governor Ortom, the NGF wishes to draw the attention of all evil doers that not only will they continue to fail in their wicked acts, but they will also definitely be traced and punished for their crimes, no matter how long it takes.” 

In a reaction, Northern States’ Governors’ Forum said the attack on Ortom was yet another daring attempt by criminals to cause mayhem, not only in Benue State but in the nation as a whole. 

In a statement by its chairman, Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State, the forum said relevant security agencies must carry out detailed investigation to fish out those behind the attack and their sponsors. 

PDP condemns presidency’s silence on assassination attempt 

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) condemned what it called silence of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Muhammadu Buhari presidency on the attack and assassination attempt on Ortom. In a statement issued by Kola Ologbondiyan, national publicity secretary, on Sunday, the party held that such disposition in the face an assassination attempt on a democratically-elected governor by bandits amounts to endorsing acts of violence and assault against the democratic order, sovereignty and corporate existence as a nation. 

“It is the belief of our party that such silence on an assassination attempt on Governor Ortom is portentous, given that the attack came on the heels of his outspokenness in exposing those allegedly behind the incessant attacks on communities in the state and demanding that the Federal Government should live up to its responsibility on the protection of life and property in the state,” the statement added. 

It urged Nigerians to hold the APC and its leaders responsible for the attack as well as call them to question should any harm befall the governor or any member of his family and government. 

If anything happens to Ortom, we’ll react in a manner you don’t expect, Benue groups tell govt

 The three sociocultural groups in Benue State, Mdzough U Tiv, Ochtoha’Idoma and Omi’Ngede, described the attack as a plan to eliminate the governor for enacting antiopen grazing law. Speaking to Nigerian Tribune, leader of the groups and retired Comptroller of Prison, Iorbee Ihagh, said some herdsmen were unhappy with the enactment of a law that eliminated open ranching. Ihagh, who also doubles as the President General of Mdzough U Tiv Worldwide, warned that the people of the state, particularly, Tiv nation, would react in a manner that will rattle the Fulani and President Buhari if anything happens to Ortom.

Ihagh said he would not disclose their plans but, however, reminded the Fulani of the 1804 Jihad war in the state wherein they were defeated by the Tiv at Ushongo hills area of the state. 

IGP orders full investigations, deploys crack detectives in Benue 

THE Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, on Sunday ordered full-scale investigations into the circumstances surrounding the attack on Ortom. In a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja by the Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), Frank Mba, the IGP, who condemned the incident, also directed the Commissioner of Police to take adequate measures towards strengthening and improving security in the state, particularly around the governor. 

It added that in order to ensure a speedy, thorough and conclusive investigation into the matter, the IGP has ordered the immediate deployment of a team of specialised investigators from the Force Criminal Investigations Department (FCID), Abuja, to provide additional investigative support to the the state police command. 

Ortom thanks God for saving him 

Ortom, at the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Signs and Wonders Mega Parish, Makurdi, on Sunday, thanked God for saving him from the hands of “daredevil armed herders” on Saturday. Leading some of his council members, the governor recounted how he ran on foot for 1.5 kilometres to escape from his attackers. He wondered why a certain ethnic group in the country would be shielded and allowed to use its militia arm to wreak havoc on perceived enemies. The governor’s convoy was ambushed by gunwielding men, suspected to be bandits, at Tyo-mu on the Makurdi/Gboko road, on Saturday. Narrating his ordeal moments after escaping the attack, Ortom recounted how he ran for more than one kilometre on foot when those who he described as herders swooped on his convoy. Ortom recounted that while his security aides took on the 15 armed men, who he said came for his life, he embarked on a sprint to escape being assassinated.

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