Sunday, January 6, 2019

Ortom: I warned Buhari, Osinbajo, IGP of planned herdsmen attacks — but they ignored me

Ortom: I warned Buhari, Osinbajo, IGP of planned herdsmen attacks — but they ignored me
January 14
09:20 2018

Samuel Ortom, Benue governor, says he alerted President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo of the planned attacks by herdsmen, but he was ignored.

Ortom said he also drew the attention of Babagana Monguno, national security adviser, and Ibrahim Idris, inspector-general of police (IGP) to the potential attack.

Speaking before the senate ad hoc committee on security infrastructure, the governor blamed security agencies for the continued attacks and killings by herdsmen.

The governor told the committee led by Ahmad Lawan, senate majority leader, that when he got wind of the planned attacks, he wrote Osinbajo, who was then acting president when Buhari was away on medical leave.

“We wrote to the Vice President on the planned attack on parts of Benue by Fulani herdsmen, because the word was everywhere on the street, but he refused to reply,” Ortom recounted.

“And when there was no response, and when Mr. President came back, I personally went and intimated him, and also wrote.

“The documents are here, I will hand them over to you. I wrote to him on the planned attack by Fulani herdsmen because these threats were on the streets.

“I intimated Mr. President and it was put into writing. On the same October 7, 2017, I wrote to the Inspector General of Police. I told him of a planned attack on our people when there was no response.

“October 27, 2017, I reminded him that these people are planning to attack us, we are law abiding, we have disarmed our youths, and we are looking unto security agencies.

“And the way to do it is to arrest those people who were inciting the herdsmen to combat us, and we knew they were going to come.

“These people were all over the place; on television, in papers, doing various press conferences, and they eventually took us to court. But we felt that it is a crime for anyone to incite people against us with the purpose of killing or causing harm, destruction. So we expected them (security agencies) to act, but there was no action.

“Of course I wrote to the Senate President for information, and the Speaker. I also wrote on 7th of October, when I was writing to the Acting President and Inspector General of Police, to the National Security Adviser on this planned attack against Benue people. I also wrote to the Director General of the Department of State Service (DSS).

“And when there was no action, I followed it up with a reminder on 27th of October, 2017. So, that was it, and I also on the 17th of October, I wrote to the President, I copied the National Security Adviser.

“There was no response. Of course, the National Security Adviser invited us for a meeting two times but it was put off.”

Herdsmen attacks have been at the forefront of national discourse in the past few weeks, with Nigerians calling on the federal government to take a decisive action on the matter.


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