From John Adam, Minna, Rose Ejembi Makurdi
North Central Governors Forum (NCGF), Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), three major socio-cultural organisations in Benue State, Mzough-U-Tiv, Ochetoha K’ Idoma (INF) and Omi’NY Igede as well as former presidential candidate in the 2019 general election, Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim, have decried the attack on Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue and called for a thorough investigation by relevant security agents.
Governor Abubakar Bello of Niger and NCGF chairman, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mary Noel-Berje, said something urgent and drastic must be done collectively to curtail the situation.
“This issue of insecurity in our nation needs all and sundry to be collectively responsible in addressing it irrespective of religious, ethnic and political affiliations,” he said.
Chairman of the NCGF applauded the efforts of the security details of Ortom who ensured his safety and other members of his entourage.
Bello said the Forum is in solidarity with Ortom and the entire people of Benue.
He enjoined the security agents not to relent in their efforts to secure lives and property across the country.
Reacting, CAN Benue State chapter called on the Federal Government to immediately arrest leaders of Fulani Nationality Movement for interrogation and prosecution.
State CAN Chairman, Akpen Leva, who stated this during a press conference in Makurdi, wondered what was the fate of ordinary Nigerians if a governor could be attacked in such manner.
“It is disheartening and inexplicable to understand that Nigeria is heading to anarchy. If a governor of a state could be attacked for no genuine reason, it then means Nigeria is fast becoming a lawless state.
“This is incredible. Nigerians should rise to condemn this satanic act. It is devilish and retrogressive and will take us nowhere,” Leva said.
The CAN chairman, who opined that what is happening to Benue and Ortom is not confined to the state and the governor alone, said the matter had already degenerated and Nigerians will in no distant future begin to feel the effect of the barbaric act.
“This is why I urge Nigerians to rise to save Nigeria from disintegration. Nigeria belongs to all of us and it is our collective efforts that will save our great country,” he said.
While regretting that threat to life and attacks on communities have continued unabated, CAN wondered why the various Fulani social cultural organisations that have continued to claim responsibility for the attacks had not been arrested.
“We find it inexplicable as to why the security operatives have not effected their arrest. This is why we call on the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency direct the security operatives to without further delay arrest those claiming responsibility for such devilish act,” Leva said.
In their reaction, Mzough-U-Tiv, INF and Omi’NY Igede, described the attack as a well coordinated attempt to kill the governor and truncate the implementation of the anti-open grazing law in Benue State.
Chairman of the groups, Iorbee Ihagh, at a press briefing yesterday, in Makurdi Said: “We are apprehensive of the attack few days after the leadership of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore issued the unguided threats on Benue governor through a video clip circulated on social media, accusing him of singlehandedly masterminding the initiation and implementation of the anti-open grazing law in the state and Nigeria at large.
“It is, therefore, logical and meaningful for any sane-minded person to establish a link between the issued threats and orchestrated attack on Governor Ortom as a basis for proper investigation by security agencies.
“In as much as we are peace-loving Nigerians who believe in the oneness of this country, we frown at the continuous refusal or unwillingness on the side of the Federal Government and its security agencies to arrest and prosecute the leadership of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore which has, on several occasions, threatened violence and or owned up to several criminal activities in the country and yet not arrested for prosecution.
“It must be made known that the leadership of Miyetti Allah is not above the law and can never be allowed to be perpetually shielded, compromised and probably guaranteed immunity unquestionably by the powers that be.
“We make bold to affirm that Miyeti Allah Kautal Hore does not have the monopoly of violence and as such should not push law-abiding citizens of our state to the wall as we also have the unquestionable capacity to resist and pacify any criminal attempt that is capable of destabilising our state,” Ihagh said.
The groups called on the international community to wade into issues of insecurity plaguing Benue and the country at large.
Olawepo-Hashim, Global Energy executive, said the attack was a ploy to cause mayhem and confusion in Benue.
In a statement, yesterday, Olawepo-Hashim said the attack was an indication that criminal elements have infiltrated the region, posing a threat to law-abiding citizens.
While appealing to Nigerians to tone down their rhetorics and be advocates of peace and harmony, the businessman said such attack was unacceptable and urged the government to institute a full scale investigation with a view to bringing the culprits to book.
“Just recently, elder brother to Gabriel Suswan, a former governor of the state, was killed. Such high profile killing and the recent attempt on the life of Governor Ortom was an indication that some people are not happy with the peaceful order in the state.
“The police must spare no resources to apprehend and bring to justice those who masterminded, planned and executed this assassination attempt. This assassination attempt further brings to mind the urgency for our call for states police. No chief executive or citizens of any state in our republic should ever again be left to the mercy of callous increasingly audacious