by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
Benue State Governor, Dr. Samuel Ortom, has made a startling revelation, saying, “Fulani herdsmen militia have been operating in collaboration with other terrorist groups to sustain their attacks on the state and other parts of the country.”
Governor Ortom made the revelation in an interview with Epoc Times TV in Washington, DC, United States of America, with Douglas Burton as host, the Chief Press Secretary to Otorm, Nathaniel Ikyur, has relayed, through Epoc Times correspondent, Luka Bienniyat, in Kaduna Nigeria on Tuesday.
The governor pointed out that, from the security information available to him, Boko Haram, ISIS, ISWAP and armed Fulani herdsmen are working for one agenda, emphasizing that they were the same group of people operating under different names.
“They collaborate by providing arms to them and doing the same thing by killing – just like the Bible says, ‘a thief cometh not only to steal but to kill and to destroy.’ So, I have seen this collaboration in all these groups; they are doing the same thing,” he said.
Governor Ortom maintained that the enactment of the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law of the State was his administration’s way of finding a solution to the lingering issue, which he noted, has now exposed the agenda of the Fulani herdsmen to be beyond grazing of cattle.
The governor further dispelled the twisted narrative that it was a farmer/herder crisis ongoing in Benue State, insisting that the attacks were unprovoked and coordinated killings by the armed invaders.
“Most of the people, who are killed, and whose homes are destroyed are farmers. The insurgents coming for these Jihadists go to attack villagers, not really in the urban areas. So, farmers live in the rural areas to engage in their farming activities.
“I must say that, whatever you hear in America here about what is happening in Nigeria, some people have the narrative that it is farmer-herder crisis. It is not so. It is a dummy that has been sold to shield people away from knowing the truth.
“The truth is that, you know, in America here, in Europe, in Asia and other parts of the world, people go into animal husbandry through ranching. I did a study and I confirmed this in several countries with the statistics where more countries have more livestock than Nigeria; yet, there are no crises.”
He maintained that, “In Brazil for, instance, it is on record that they have over 250 million herds of cattle, while in India, it is the same thing – with over 200 million herds of cattle. The whole cattle in Nigeria that you hear so much about the ‘farmer-herder crisis’ are not up to 30 million herds of cattle,” Governor Ortom stated.
He maintained also that, the security agencies were doing their best to curb the attacks but, regretted that, such efforts were not enough, saying, “Such outfits don’t have the manpower to be stationed in the flashpoints to wade-off the attackers.”
The governor insisted that, if the Federal Government has no hidden agenda, it should convoke a national security summit where all stakeholders would be given the opportunity to proffer solutions to the security problems.
Governor Ortom also expressed worry that, his request to the President to grant approval to procure automatic weapons for the newly-established Community Volunteer Guards to enable the security outfit to match the strength of Fulani herdsmen terrorizing the state is yet to get a response from the presidency.