The Middle Belt Forum, the Arewa Consultative Forum, the Northern Governors Forum, the Nigerian Governors Forum, President Muhammadu Buhari and others have vehemently condemned the assassination attempt on Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State.
Ortom had on Saturday said that suspected herdsmen, about 15 in number, attacked him in his farm at Tyo-Mu community, near Makurdi, the capital of Benue State.
According to the governor, the attack against his life was because of his stands against killer herdsmen, who have been attacking and killing farmers in his state and across the nation.
Reacting to the worrisome develoment, the Northern Governors Forum in a statement by its Chairman, Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State, described the attack on Ortom as another attempt by criminals to cause mayhem in the nation as a whole.
Also, the Nigerian Governors Forum further stated that attempt to make Benue State ungovernable would failed.
Governor Kayode Fayemi, the Chairman of the NGF, in a statement titled “Attempt On Governor Ortom’s life,” issued on Sunday, reads below in part;
“The NGF empathises with the governor and the people of Benue State on this sad, cowardly, and wicked plan and vehemently condemns the act in its entirety.
“All hands must be on deck to uncover the identities of those involved in this heinous crime.
“The NGF wishes to state categorically that the attempt to make Benue State ungovernable is unacceptable and will fail woefully.
“Only recently, a brother of one of the former governors of the state was mowed down in cold blood. This dishonourable and shameful act of resorting to violence, for whatever reason, to eliminate citizens of Benue State by brutal means must not continue.”
Also, the Middle Belt Forum in a statement by its spokesman, Dr. Isuwa Dogo, noted that Fulani herdsmen who thinks they are above the law have crossed the redline by attacking Governor Ortom, adding that it is a declaration of war on the Nigerian nation.
“They (the assailants ) have crossed the redline by making an attempt on the life of Governor Ortom. For us in the Middle Belt, the attack on the Benue governor is tantamount to a coup and a declaration of war on the Nigerian nation because killing a governor who holds a symbol of authority of a state has gone beyond an individual to a crime against the state.
“Before now, we had expected the army, the air force and all other security agents under the control of the Federal Government to see the incident for what it is, a coups d’état, and move in quickly and comb all the forests where those said to be responsible are hiding and apprehend them to face the full wrath of the law. But for this not to have been done up till this moment is a serious error of judgment.”
Reacting also to the attack on Ortom, the Arewa Consultative Forum condemned an attempt to take Ortom’s life. The apex northern group however noted that it cannot fully comment on the issued without adequate information.
Meanwhile, the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has ordered full investigation into the attack on Ortom’s life.
The IG ordered the Benue Commissioner of Police, Audu Madaki, to take adequate measures towards strengthening security in the state and specifically around the governor.
The Nigeria Police Force in a statement on Sunday titled “Attack on Governor Ortom of Benue State: IG orders full-scale investigations,” issued by police spokesman, Frank Mba, stated that the IG ordered the Benue CP to ensure the arrest and prosecution of the attackers.
“The IGP has also specifically directed the CP to carry out painstaking investigations into the incident and ensure the arrest and prosecution of persons indicted in the course of the investigations.
“Meanwhile, in order to ensure a speedy, thorough and conclusive investigation into the matter, the IGP has ordered the immediate deployment of a team of specialized investigators from the Force Criminal Investigations Department, Abuja, in Benue State to provide additional investigative support to the Benue State Police Command.”
Reacting also to the ugly development, President Muhammadu Buhari in a statement through his aide, Garba Shehu, ordered security agencies to carry out what he called “open and transparent” investigation into the attack on Ortom.
The Presidential statement titled ‘President Buhari condemns attack on Governor Samuel Ortom, orders thorough, transparent investigation,’ reads below; “Let there be open and transparent investigation and whoever is linked to it should be caught and be made to face the law,” the President reportedly directed.
The President noted that the incident must not be politicised, saying that an attack on one Nigerian is an attack on all Nigerians.
Former President of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Senator David Mark, in his reaction noted that the people of Benue State are not weak.
He asked the Federal Government to address the insecurity in Nigeria to prevent Nigerians from taking to self-help.
Mark in his statement issued through his media aide, Paul Mumeh, condemned the assassination attempt on Ortom.
“If a state governor can be so brazenly attacked, what would they not do to the ordinary citizens?
“ Let me state clearly that Benue people are receptive and accommodating, but this should not be misconstrued or mistaken for weakness. Enough of this malady.
“If our government and security operatives can no longer guarantee peoples’ safety in their homes, farms or places of business, I am worried that the situation may compel citizens to resort to self-help.”
Ibrahim Kenneth Suleiman is the Chief Political Editor at Naija Buzz News Network. He is a graduate of political science from the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Kaduna State. He specializes in preparing/approving of political news contents before publication. He currently heads Naija Buzz News team of political correspondents. From Nasarawa State, North-Central Nigeria, Ibrahim is a strong supporter of Manchester United Football Club England.