Insecurity: Ortom Escapes Death By The Whiskers From Suspected Armed Herdsmen Attack At Close Range

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Stephen Ubanna

The planned  attempt on the life of Samuel Loraer Ortom, a one-time minister of Investments and now governor of Benue state, north central Nigeria, by suspected  armed herdsmen on Saturday, March 20, 2021, could have thrown the state and the nation into anarchy if they  had succeeded .

In an emotional outburst, the governor who was said to have escaped death by the whiskers had said that the  attack on his  convoy  by the armed herdsmen had happened  at Tyo Miu along Makurdi, and Gboko road in Makurdi Local government area of the state, which had been  under the attack of the armed herdsmen over the years.

Given an insider information on the attack , the Opposition People’s Democratic Party, PDP, governor, of the north Central state disclosed that 15 armed herdsmen, as he was able to count their number, amidst tight security provided  by his security details, had trailed him to the river bank, where  he was on foot.

Gov.Ortom Of Benue State Survives Armed Herdsmen Attack

An eyewitness account disclosed that but for the courage put forth by the security details to repel the armed herdsmen attackers who took their Convoy unawares, it would have been a different story as the attack was at a close range.

An aggrieved Ortom had said that the organised attack on him by the armed herdsmen was well planned and executed by the Leadership of   Miyetti Allah, Cattle Breeders Association  of Nigeria,  because of his strong opposition to their illegal  activities in the state and  Continuous  attack attacks on farmers in the state. Recall that in 2017,  he had ordered  all the armed herdsmen  out of Benue because they had engaged  in killing innocent Citizens with  little or no provocation, amidst strong resistance.

 The governor had accused the Miyetti Leadership of having singled him ou for assassination among  the governors  of the six north Central  states  which includes Plateau, Nasarawa, Kwara, Kogi and Niger, home state of Ibrahim Babangida, a retired army General and former military President, in their recent meeting in Yola, Capital of Taraba state, north east Nigeria.

Informed sources told The Value News that the quick intervention of Troops of  Operation  Whirl Stroke, the Police and the Department of State Security, DSS, personnel, may have saved the situation from degenerating into Choas as the armed herdsmen were said to have retired into the forest and regrouped   to ambush  and Launch another attack on the governor and his Convoy on their way back to Makurdi .

The armed security Operatives were said to have Combed  the forest  between Tyo.Miu, the scene of the attack and Abinse, where  the armed herdsmen  were believed to  have Camped to Launch the attack on the governor’s Convoy but  no arrest was  made as they had disappeared into thin air before the troops , police and DSS, Personnel arrived their Camp in the forest.

The attack on the Benue governor , who is the Chief security of the state may have given him the ammunition to call for the arrest of Kautal Hore, who is believed to be the leader of Miyetti Allah in the state.   Many believe that both for the quick Intervention of the  armed security Operatives to save the life of governor Ortom and other top government officials with him the state could have been thrown into anarchy that may have eventually  spread to other parts of the country and subsequent forced disintegration.

An Unhappy Gov. Ortom

Given the threat on his life by the  trigger hungry herdsmen,  the Benue state governor was said to have mobilized his Lawyers mostly Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, to prepare to send a very powerful petition to President Muhammadu Buhari , a retired army General and Commander –In-Chief , C-In-C, of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Babagana Munguno, a retired Major General and National Security Adviser, NSA, Mohammed Adamu,  Inspector General of Police, IGP and  Yusuf Magaji Bichi, Director General, Department of State Security , DSS,  and other Security Chiefs, to facilitate the arrest of the hoodlums who are still operating  from  the forest around the state. he was said to have asked the Nigerian President to act now before it is too late.

Recall that the Katsina state born Nigerian President had given the current service Chiefs, made up of Leo Irabor, a General, and Chief of Defence Staff, CDS, Ibrahim Attahiru, a Lt. General and Chief of Army Staff, CAS, Isiaka Oladdayo Amao, , an Air Marshall and  Chief of Air Staff and  Awwal  Zubairu Gambo, a Vice  Admiral and Chief of Naval Staff , a few weeks , to secure the country.

The Nigerian President desperate moves to restore sanity in the country may have informed why he has given a matching order to the security operatives  to go into the forest  and shoot whoever they see with sophisticated  weapons like AK47 but that was how far he could go.

The recent attempt on the life of governor Ortom, despite the tight security , around him , appears to be the climax of the armed herdsmen operations, in the state, an indication that  nowhere is safe in the country.   Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, a retired Brigadier General and Sultan of Sokoto,  had said  that  much, noting that ‘’Nigerians  are now at the mercy  of Criminals with nowhere safe to live and no one safe’’.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who is not happy over what is happening in the country had told  those that cares to listen that  ‘’the security issue in the country  is Common to all Nigerians , regardless of tribe, language, religion, location, gender, age or social position’’.

The Nigerian President may have Known that the armed herdsmen and Bandits operating in the north western states of Zamfara, Katsina, his home state and , which shares borders with the neighbouring West African country of Niger Republic and Kaduna, the Political Headquarters of the Northern Elites have defiled his orders as they have continued to move about with sophisticated weapons  , killing and maiming people, without control.

 Only recently , the trigger-hungry  Islamic State  of West African Province, ISWAP,  Insurgents , operating from the Lake Chad region of the north east of Borno, which had spread to the north western states, masquerading as armed Bandits   in their struggle for survival, had attacked  Zango Kataf,  Chikun and  Kauru,  Local government areas of Kauna state.

The Bandits were said to have killed several people and burnt many houses including motorcycles and other Valuables  in the Communities attacked in the three flash points  Local government areas of the state.  The repeated attacks by the armed Bandits on  the Communities in the flash –point Local government areas of the state  may have informed  why  Samuel Aruwan,  the state Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, had called on the security agencies  personnel to step up their patrol of the state as the attacks are becoming too many.

Hassan Stan- Abo, a retired army Colonel and former army Intelligence Officer, fears that Nigerian security is being threatened, as  Bandits have taken over the country and the Authorities are watching.  The retired  army Colonel, who could not hide his feelings had said that he country have got all it takes , with well – equipped inventory, to crush these Criminals. Hecited the countries the country in the West African sub-region that Nigeria has tested its military might: Siera –Leone, Liberia, and Cote d’Ivore and succeeded in restoring peace in these countries but havng difficulty in doing so in the country.  Stan-Abo, the army Intelligence Officer,may have sent a message to the Nigeria President that ‘’the country is sinking and needed to be rescued’’.    

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