By Sylvanus Okpe
Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has revealed that he narrowly escaped death when suspected armed herdsmen shot at him in his farm at Adeke along Makurdi-Naka road.
This is just as suspected armed herdsmen reportedly abducted and killed a member of the state’s Livestock Guard in Ado Local Government Area, LGA.
Ortom, Monday in a live radio programme monitored in Makurdi said he had gone to his farm in the outskirts of Makurdi town few days ago when armed herdsmen besieged the vicinity and opened fire.
According to him, “just last week I was on my farm that is situated in the outskirts of Makurdi town when armed herdsmen came there and shot at me.
“They also shot at the vehicle of our Livestock Guards who came there and shattered it. We had to call the joint military security team, Operation Whirl Stroke, OPWS, who came and saved the situation,” he added.
The Governor lamented that in the influx of armed herdsmen into the state had become a source of concern and worry and needed to be checked urgently.
He said “We are doing everything possible to arrest the situation. These people are deliberately coming into the state. And I have always maintained that armed herdsmen, ISWA, ISIS and Boko Haram are the same thing and they are out to prosecute the same agenda.
“There are no two ways about that. Even when we went for the North Central Security meeting. l told them the same thing. Miyetti Allah leadership should also be arrested because majority of all the kidnappings you see around are carried out by armed herdsmen.
“They are creating a lot of insecurity and hardship for the people, the federal government must ensure they are arrested and prosecuted just like we are arresting those involved in open grazing in Benue.
“The situation has become a big challenge because the farmers in Benue state are not allowed to have cutlasses but herdsmen are allowed to carry AK47. It is not correct, we cannot allow them to get into Benue and continue to create problems for us.
“I don’t have control of the coercive force, but the military Operation Whirl Stroke, OPWS, has done well by returning relative peace but we want them to do it more.
“Our Livestock Guards do not have guns to confront the armed herdsmen which is a big challenge. But we have been working with the Civil Defence and the trained Agro Rangers who are armed and we will collaborate with them to also help us ensure that herdsmen occupying our communities are moved out to allow the displaced persons return home to a secured environment.”