Ortom denies exonerating Fulani herders on Benue killings


Nigerian Concord Newspaper

Benue state governor, Mr. Samuel Ortom, has said that there was no point at which he or anyone in his administration had said that Fulani herders were not behind killings in the state.

Governor Ortom said that he was being misquoted by enemies of Benue state that he attributed all the killings in the state to Terwase Akwaza, Gana, during an interview he granted some journalists at the State House in Abuja on Monday.

But addressing reporters during another media interaction, the governor stressed that while Fulani herders are responsible for attacks and killings in over seventeen local government, Terwase Akwaza is responsible for criminal activities like kidnapping, raping and others in just three local governments.

Saying that only an enemy of the state will blame all the attacks on Gana alone without mentioning the fulani herders who have always been claiming responsibilities for majority of the killings, Governor Ortom said that the twin security challenges are from two different bodies: Fulani group and Gana’s gang.

Also, the governor disclosed that the Fulani attackers were brought into Benue and other affected states by politicians for ulterior motives but were abandoned to their fates after they had been used for the original crimes they were meant to commit.

According to the governor, it was the abandonment by those that brought in the herders for sinister motives that made them to engage in killing and attacking innocent people under the guise of protecting cows.

On the Anti Open Grazing Law, Ortom said that there is no going back for his administration, adding that the Law had helped security agencies to tackle insecurity in the state to some levels.

On that, the governor said that the only way out of Fulani attacks is Ranching which he said had helped developed countries in the past.

He said that he is still waiting for anyone with a better option than Cattle Ranching which said that the majority of the world practices today.

The governor also said that he had reported the Fulani herders to the National Economic Council chaired by Vice President Yemi Osibajo many times but wondered why the federal government has been handling the sensitive issue with levity.