From Rose Ejembi, Makurdi, Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja and John Adams, Minna
Governor Samuel Ortom has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to declare a state of emergency over Nigeria’s deteriorating security situation.
He spoke, yesterday, against the backdrop of killing of seven persons by suspected herdsmen during an attack on an internally displaced persons (IDPs) camp in Abagena community in Benue state.
“My colleagues, the governors, must rise and impress on the president to call a security summit, if possible, to declare a state of emergency on security so that all hands will be on deck to address the situation in the country,” the governor said.
The fresh attack caused the IDPs to block the Makurdi-Lafia road in protest.
“Seven dead bodies have so far been counted with many others injured after armed Fulani herdsmen attacked Abagena community housing Internally Displaced Persons camp in Makurdi Local Area of Benue State.”
He described the attack as barbaric and unacceptable when he visited the camp.
While calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to act fast to stem the tide of continued killings by suspected herdsmen across the country, Ortom said the patience of the people had been overstretched.
“You have all seen what is happening within the last two weeks. We have lost over 70 people in Guma, Makurdi and Gwer West LGAs alone, in addition to what you have seen here.
“Many are in the hospital apart from the seven that were killed. But I want to say that our patience is being overstretched in spite of our preaching of rule of law and due process. You can see that the people are fed up.
“Mr. President must rise up; he is the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He has taken oath of office to secure and protect lives and property. This is not acceptable, this cannot continue. Mr President must rise up and address the nation.
“We are being overstretched and the people are fed up. We all voted President Buhari. He must not continue to be aloof. He must tell us where we are going in this country. This is too much. The body language of the president shows that he is the President of the Fulani people.
“I have written to him on this, yet he has not done anything about it. We are now in a banana republic. This falsehood must stop. The president must address us and not him sending Garba Shehu to address us.
“It is better for me not to be alive than to see this kind of shame. Governors must arise to ensure that state of emergency is declared on security.
“Just like the First Lady, (Aisha Buhari) asked sometimes ago that where are the men in this country? The governors must work hard to salvage this country otherwise, tomorrow we will wake up and there will be no country. Goat does not bite but when it is pushed to the wall it would bite. This government is not being proactive,” Ortom said.
•President must be told the truth –Zulum
Governor of Borno, Prof. Babagana Zulum, has described the deteriorating insecurit in Borno in particular and the North East in general as pathetic, adding that it was his duty to President Muhammadu Buhari the truth.
Speaking to State House Correspondents after the meeting with the president on Monday, he expressed sadness over the latest terrorist attacks, which led to the death of many soldiers in the state.
The governor regretted that hundreds of people have fled their homes rendering many towns deserted in the region.
“In Borno, particularly, Brigade headquarters was attacked, many soldiers, men and officers of the Nigerian Army were killed. Let me use this opportunity to extend my condolences to the families of the deceased. God, in His infinite wisdom, forgive them.
“I think it is my own responsibility to come and say the truth to Mr. President, let him know what is going on in the entire Northeast subregion.
“I think there is the need for us to get support for us to succeed in this war against insurgents. It’s very pathetic. Few days ago, Damasak was attacked, hundreds of people started fleeing Damasak and now Geidam is almost deserted, many people have left Geidam.”
He blamed the continuing deteriorating security situation in the North East on lack of military equipment stating: “I think the military are yet to receive some of the equipment that they have ordered for.”