Governor Samuel Ortom Benue State Gave reasons why he believes that President Muhammadu Buhari was a “participant” in the conflict between herders and farming communities in the state.
Mr Ortom spoke when he appeared as a guest on Arise TV’s The Morning Show on Wednesday.
As in other parts of Nigeria, Benue has a long-standing conflict between herders and farmers, with frequent attacks and killings of people.
Speaking during the TV event, Mr. Ortom insisted that Mr. Buhari has been involved in conflicts between herdsmen and farmers in the state.
The governor said he established a vigilante group, the Community Volunteer Guards, to assist traditional security agencies in checking herdsman attacks in the state, but claimed that Mr. Buhari had asked the state for permission to provide automatic weapons to the vigilante group. The government’s request was rejected.
“It is unfortunate that the way the herdsmen are killing our people, the federal government is seen to be complicit. I have intervened with the federal authorities, Mr. President, I have sat with them and I have brought these things before them .
“The truth is that when you allow Fulani herdsmen to carry AK-47s (rifles) and then allow local people and even community volunteer guards to carry pump action rifles,[they]Can’t cope),” he said, adding that the biggest weapon used by the guards is the pump action rifle.
“But you know that one hundred community volunteer guards cannot face two Fulani herdsmen with AK-47s (rifles) with pump action (rifles). These are automatic weapons.
“And that was the reason why my state executive council has petitioned the president and the federal government to allow us to at least have community volunteer guards armed with automatic weapons so that they can actually confront these herdsmen, said Mr. Ortom.
The governor said that if the president and the federal government had acceded to his request, the “herdsman attacks” in the state would have ended.
“When we applied, we were told that carrying those weapons by civilians is prohibited. So, they cannot allow us to take them. And the challenge I have with the federal government’s response to my request for automatic weapons for the guards is why are they allowing Fulani herdsmen to carry these (AK-47) weapons? They said.
“Where they arrested these Fulani herdsmen and took them to court and tried them and dealt with them (for carrying AK-47s).”
He urged the federal government to quickly deal with the “herdsman attacks” which, he noted, are being witnessed across the country, mainly in the north-central states.
‘Buhari ran us from top to bottom, but I forgive him’
Mr. Ortome said, as a Christian, he had forgiven Mr. Buhari for his failures as president and that he expected Bola Tinubu’s incoming administration to provide security to Nigerians so that the country could live up to its glory. Can come back in the days of
“For me, as a born again Christian, I have forgiven President Muhammadu Buhari. He has taken us from top to bottom, but that does not mean we should stay on him.
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