President Muhammadu Buhari has condemned gunmen attack on Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, just as he cautioned Nigerians against politicising the act and other criminalities across the country.
Buhari stated that the attack on the Benue governor should be considered as an act that affects the entire country and that adding political colouration would further be aiding the attackers and others involve in criminalities in Nigeria.
According to him, the string of brutal attacks on individuals and communities in the state, with the latest one targeting the governor, is unacceptable.
The President, while commending the dispatch of a high-level team of crack investigators to the state to aid the perpetrators’ arrest, tasked the officers to uncover and arrest anyone behind the attacks as well as bring them to justice.
His sympathies, and that of the government of the federation to the governor and all Benue indigenes was contained in a statement released on Sunday by the President’s Senior Special Assistant Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.
The President further 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.
“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 directed.
It would be recalled that Ortom narrated that no fewer than 15 armed herdsmen attacked his convoy along Makurdi/Gboko road in Makurdi Local Government Area of the state.
Ortom added that the gun-wielding men, who had laid siege for his convoy, launched the attack at Tyo Mu along Makurdi/Gboko road and that the intervention of his security details prevented any injury on him.
He alleged that the attack was orchestrated by Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) leadership that had been against his policy on grazing and that he would drag them before court.
The governor, who described the gunmen as ‘herdsmen’, said that over 15 of the attackers trailed him to the river bank where he was on foot before they were repelled by his aides.
While praising his security details that were just about six in number for repelling the attackers promptly before providing cover for him to return to safety and his vehicle, Ortom stressed that there was no way the MACBAN leadership could exonerate themselves from the attacks.
“My lawyer is going to make a petition against the leadership of MACBAN because they came out to target me and behind the scene, they are planning to eliminate me on my own land,” he said.
“If I can’t go to the farm as governor with entire security around me then who else can go to the farm? You can imagine the pains that we have here in Benue State.
“I appreciate the security personnel attached to me they were able to repel them and they could not have access to me,” the governor added.
The governor, meanwhile, disclosed that troops of Operation Whirl Stroke, the police, and DSS have been mobilised to the forest between Tyo-Mu and Abinse where the armed herdsmen are camped to comb the area.
He also called for the arrest and prosecution of the leadership of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore who only last week, gathered in Yola, the Adamawa State capital to single him out for assassination.
Speaking further, Ortom asked President Muhammadu Buhari and the security chiefs to expect a formal petition from his lawyers and move quickly to arrest the situation.