Anti-grazing: Middle Belt condemns alleged threat on Gov. Ortom’s life
The Middle Belt Forum (MBF), has condemned the alleged threats on the life of Governor Samuel Ortom by forces opposed to his persistent and clear stance against open grazing of cattle in Nigeria, especially in the Middle Belt Region.
The Forum noted with satisfaction the Governor’s insistence that the 2023 presidency must not be retained by the North, a position that was recently adopted by the Forum at its National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting in Akwanga, Nasarawa State.
A statement issued by the MBF National President, Dr. Pogu Bitrus and made available to Dyaily POST in Kaduna stated, “The attention of the Middle Belt Forum (MBF) has been drawn to the alleged threats on the life of Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State by forces opposed to his persistent and clear stance against open grazing of cattle in Nigeria, especially in the Middle Belt Region.
“More infuriating to those plotting against the Benue Governor is his insistence that the 2023 presidency must not be retained by the North; a position that was recently adopted by the Forum at its National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting in Akwanga, Nasarawa State.”
The forum observed that apart from standing as the clear symbol of what the Middle Belt stands for, the Benue Governor had been in the vanguard of calling out criminal elements engaged in carrying out murderous assaults on the communities, which had led to the destruction of hundreds of their towns and villages, with some of their people forced to seek sanctuary in various Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps that are poorly catered for.
It explained that despite pressure and threat from those that were determined to continue with the culture of bloodbath and massive destruction by armed and brutal Fulani militia, Governor Ortom had remained unwavering in the defence of his people by insisting that the anti-open grazing law can never be reversed.
It further explained that it was in clear acknowledgement of the imperatives of the anti-open grazing as means to ending the bloodbath in Benue State and other states of the Middle Belt that the Southern Governors also outlawed open grazing to stop the rising spate of bloodshed and destruction associated with the activities of herdsmen.
Considering the irreversible determination of Governor Ortom to stand with his people on power rotation to the South in 2023 and his unbending opposition to rescind the anti-open grazing law, the statement noted that the anti-democratic forces were alleged to be working underground to instigate crisis with the sole aim of having the Federal Government impose a state of emergency on Benue State.
The Forum said as the umbrella organisation for ethnic nationalities in the Middle Belt region, it condemned all forms of provocations in whatever disguise that could threaten the present fragile peace in the State.
It called on trouble makers that were acting at the behest of forces opposed to security in not only Benue State but also the Middle Belt region to quickly sheathe the sword.
It called on security agencies to intervene and arrest Fulani herdsmen that had taken over several parts of Guma Local Government Area where Governor Ortom hails from.
The forum advised that the security agents should pay close attention to the activities of the murdering herdsmen in order to stave off new waves of genocidal attacks and destruction of property in not only Benue State but the Middle Belt and the entire country.
It called on President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently rise up to his responsibility of protecting vulnerable communities “against these human butcheries”, adding that the anti-open grazing law that was properly passed by the Benue lawmakers should be respected by the Federal Government as enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution.
The forum drew the attention of Nigerians and the international community that what is presently happening now in Benue could turn out a dress rehearsal for yet another deadly round of violence, saying that in the event of any destruction unleashed on Benue State or any harm visited on Governor Ortom, the Middle Belt shall hold President Buhari responsible.
The statement stated in clear terms that Governor Ortom is not responsible for the present insecurity ripping across Benue state and the nation at large, stressing that the forces behind the security nightmares were those mindless and vicious herdsmen killers whose desire was to conquer the land and take over their communities.
It suggested that what the nation’s security forces should do now was to go after the bloodthirsty criminals that had turned the communities into a vast killing field, saying, “President Buhari should stop the orchestrated massacre of our people in the phantom name of farmer/herder clashes.”
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