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Rage over attack on Ortom

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here was uproar Sunday over the weekend attack on Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom by bandits.

The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), the Northern Governors’ Forum, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the All Progressives Congress (APC) and other groups condemned the attack, urging the police to track down the criminals.

Police Inspector General Muhammed Adamu has dispatched a team of policemen and officers from the Force Headquarters, Abuja, to Makurdi, the state capital, to investigate the incident and arrest those behind it.

He also directed the Benue State Police Commissioner, Audu Madaki, to strengthen security around the governor and throughout the state.

Ortom and his aides were attacked by suspected herdsmen and bandits on his farm along Makurdi-Gboko road last Saturday.

The governor, who narrated his ordeal at a church thanksgiving service in Makurdi yesterday said he ran one kilometer on foot to escape assassination.

Describing the scene as awful, he said the growing insecurity showed that Nigeria is on a life support.

At the 37th priestly anniversary mass in honour of Rev. Father Donatus Ugema, at the RCCG Signs and Wonders Mega Parish, the governor said: “The attacks by herdsmen on harmless farmers, coupled with the killings of Internally Displaced Persons

(IDPs)  and destruction of houses, were clear indications that the country is sick and on life support gasping for breath.

“the attack would rather strengthen my determination to execute God’s divine agenda for Benue.”

During the solidarity visit by his commissioners, special advisers, traditional rulers and other stakeholders, Ortom, who welcomed the deployment of the detectives from Abuja, said that evil plans against him would always fail.

The governor called on Nigerians of good conscience to save the country from drifting into anarchy.

He wondered why a certain ethnic group would be shielded and allowed to use its militia to wreak havoc on perceived enemies.

President Muhammadu Buhari also ordered an investigation into the armed attack.

In a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, President Buhari stated that anyone found culpable in the attack, his position not withstanding, should be made to face the law.

“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 added.

Condemning the attack and sympathising with the governor and the entire state, President Buhari said the incident should not be politicised.

Shehu said: “President Muhammadu Buhari strongly condemns attack on Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State, saying the string of brutal attacks on individuals and communities in the state, with the latest one targeting the governor, was unacceptable.

“The President welcomes the dispatch of a high level team of crack investigators to the state from the Police headquarters in Abuja, urging the officers to uncover who, or whatsoever, was behind the attacks and bring them to justice.

“In expressing his sympathies, and that of the government of the federation to Governor Ortom and all Benue indigenes, President Buhari said the unfortunate incident must not be politicised, reiterating that an attack on one Nigerian is an attack on all Nigerians.

“The President directed the Police to undertake a thorough investigation into the incident involving the governor and into all such incidents affecting individuals and communities in the state”.

The NGF,   in a statement by its Chairman,Dr.  Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State,empathised with Ortom, saying the incident was a “broad daylight attempt to cut short his life”.

The governors said that no effort should be spared to apprehend those behind the attack.

The statement reads in part: “The news of the broad daylight attempt to cut short the life of the Governor of Benue State, Dr. Samuel Ortom, is shocking and a rude awakening.

“The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (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, the 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.

“The NGF as a platform for all the 36 Governors will continue to encourage its  members to stand firm in the service of their people, regardless of the evil machinations of those who do not wish Nigeria well.

“Evil will not be allowed to triumph over good, not in Benue and not anywhere in this country.”

Also,  the Northern States’ Governors Forum Forum (NSGF)  described the attack as another “daring attempt by criminals to cause mayhem, not only in Benue State, but in the nation as a whole.”

The NSGF advised  in a statement by its Chairman and Governor of Plateau State, Simon  Lalong, that relevant security agencies should investigate the attack and apprehend the perpetrators.

Lalong said hands must be on deck to tackle the insecurity threatening the corporate existence of the country.

He said the governor would  continue to engage and support security agencies in their duty of securing the region and the nation at large.

Also, the PDP governors, in a statement by their chairman, Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, described the attack on Ortom as an invitation to anarchy.

They warned that any attempt to harm any governors will be viewed by the governors as an attempt on “all of us”.

Tambuwal said: “Nigeria is not a Banana Republic, even though certain retrogressive elements and centrifugal forces are trying to consign Nigeria into a failed state.

“Nigeria is still a democracy and a nation of laws and not men. Nobody, or group however highly placed, should take the laws into their hands. Self-help is an invitation to anarchy and must be nipped in the bud.

“It remains the primary responsibility of government, especially the Federal Government, who have the monopoly of the coercive forces of state, to secure the lives and livelihoods of our people, however low or high.”

The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbodiyan, expressed worry over the attack, which it said, came on the heels of Ortom’s outspokenness in exposing those allegedly behind the incessant attacks on communities in the state and demanding that the Federal Government should live up to its responsibility on the protection of life and property in the state.

“Our party urges Nigerians to hold the APC and its leaders responsible for the attack on Governor Ortom and call them to question should any harm befall the governor or any member of his family and government.

The party charged security agencies to arrest and prosecute the perpetrators of the attack.

Ologbodiyan added: “The PDP fears for the life of Governor Ortom and we urge Nigerians to hold the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led administration responsible over its failure to take a decisive step to check the escalated insecurity and brazen attacks on innocent Nigerians”

The party however, called on Ortom not to be deterred by the attack, but to remain courageous in providing leadership to the people of his state.

The PDP also called on the people of Benue State to be calm and vigilant while providing useful information to security agencies to assist in exposing the armed bandits.

Former Senate President David Mark condemned the attack, saying the security situation in the country has become sacandalous.

Mark, a prominent indigene of the state, warned that Nigerians should not be pushed to resorting to self help.

He said: “If a governor can be bracenly attacked, what would they not do to ordinary citizens? :et me say clearly that Benue people are receptive and accomodating. But, this should be not be mistaken for weakness. Enough of this malady.”

However, the ruling  APC warned the PDP against politicising insecurity in the country.

APC Caretaker Extra-Ordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) Secretary Senator John James Akpanudoedehe, in a statement in Abuja, condemned the attack on the governor.

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