The Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has confirmed that he was on Saturday, March 20, attacked by unknown gunmen suspected to be herdsmen, while returning from his farm along Markurdi/Gboko Road in Markurdi Local Government Area.
Governor Ortom, who disclosed this while recounting his ordeal in the hands of herdsmen, said he ran about 1.5 kilometers in order to escape an attempt on his life by gunmen.
The Governor stated that the gunmen dressed in black and numbering over 15 were shooting directly at him earlier that day (Saturday), reports ThisDaylive.com.
The governor’s media aide, Mr Terver Akase, who was in Makurdi at the time of the attack, had earlier told newsmen that the governor’s convoy was ambushed at Tyo mu community, a distance of less than 20 kilometers from the Benue State capital, while returning from his farm along Gboko Road.
Briefing journalists at the Benue Peoples House after the incident, the governor said he was inspecting his farm on Saturday, March 20, when armed herders who had trailed him to the river bank all dressed in black, opened fire on him and his security aides.
He noted that it was the swift response of his security aides that repelled the attack, while he ran a long distance to escape, unhurt.
“If I can’t go to the farm as governor with my entire security around me then who else can go to the farm? You can imagine the pains that we have here in Benue State.
“If not for my security men and God I would have been dead by now, I ran over 1.5 kilometers to escape while my security men repelled the herdsmen”, he said.
Still speaking, the governor claimed that from intelligence report received from security agents, the attack came just a few days after he was described by the leadership of the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore in Yola as a thorn in their flesh that must be eliminated.
Governor Ortom said his life was in the hands of God and no ethnic militia had the power to take it without God’s permission.
He said as many times as they try, they would continue to fail.
Speaking further, the governor insisted that the ranching law of the state will not be repealed for any reason, adding that he won’t be intimidated into reversing the ban on open grazing in his administration.
Governor Ortom called on the federal government to treat the herdsmen the same way the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and the Eastern Security Network (ESN) paramilitary, which have been prescribedd, are being treated.
He assured that he would write a petition to the president and security chiefs against Miyetti Allah, insisting that allowing the group to walk freely with security personnel attached to them was not in the best interest of the country.