Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom is looking to find a bipartisan solution to tackling the Fulani herdsmen crisis rocking his state.
Consequently, he has set aside his differences with opposition politicians including his predecessor, Gabriel Suswam, and former Senate president, David Mark, in order for all hands to be on deck in repelling the onslaught against people of the state.
Why it Matters
At least 50 people were killed in Benue following attacks by Fulani Herdsmen in Guma and Logo LGAs of the state.
The governor who recently signed an anti-open grazing bill into law has been at loggerheads with the Miyeti Allah Kautal Hore group which had reportedly kicked against the law and threatened to attack the people of the state. In all of this the governor has been unable to secure the backing of top opposition political leaders in his state or his predecessor, Gabriel Susam whom he has been trading harsh words with over in the media.
Speaking on the anti-open grazing prohibition and ranches establishment law, Ortom said: “Since the introduction of anti open grazing law, there have been series of threats to my life but am committed to protect people who gave me their mandate, so am not moved by those threats.”
People That Matter
Governor Ortom said at an emergency gathering of stakeholders in Makurdi – including the state chapter of the Nigerian Bar Association – that he has initiated outreach to the main opposition leaders. He revealed that he has not spoken to his predecessor Suswam or former Senate President Mark prior to the recent attacks but has decided to break the ice.
“l decided to put every sentiment aside, reconciled with relevant stakeholders and sit with them to brainstorm with a view to find lasting solution to the crisis,” he said to an emergency gathering of stakeholders in Makurdi, pointing out that the problem transcends party lines as everyone is affected.
“Suswam was in the system before me and he had handled this issue of Fulani before. When l called him about this meeting, he told me that he is out of the country and he told me what to do. So also David Mark who is again out of Nigeria. They are all in support of whatever decision am taking to address the killings.”
”I cannot be a leader over dead people. 2019 is in God’s hand. This time, there is need for synergy, cooperation and unity among every Benue people across party lines. Therefore, I have reconciled with them, let them join me to push this fight away from Benue.”
“It is time Benue sons and daughters put away political differences and unite to speak with one voice against invasion and occupation of their land which has left many people dead and property worth billions destroyed.”
”Benue people must remain steadfast till impunity is defeated in Nigeria. No amount of sacrifice is too big in the struggle to end the genocide being perpetrated by Fulani herdsmen in parts of Benue State.”