By Lateef Adegite
With the recent attempted attack on the Convoy of Samuel Lorarer Ortom, a former minister of Trade and Investments during the Administration of the erstwhile President Goodluck Jonathan and now governor of Benue state, north central Nigeria,, by suspected armed herdsmen while visiting a Farm in Makurdi, the state Capital, the country appears to be sitting to be sitting on a keg of gun powder. This is because of the anger in the country as the various ethnic groups across the country are now singing of the song of division. From the south east, southwest to the north Central, the story is the same: We want to go as the armd herdsmen and Bandits attack are becoming too many.
It is instructive to note that that Benue, the north central state had remained over the years as one of the flash point states at the centre of Nigeria’s farmers-herdsmen clashes. Ortom ,the Benue state governor may have given the Ibrhim Attahiru, a Lt. General and Chief of Army Staff, CAS, troops a clue on how to get the herdsmen Bandits in the state, particular .
He had said that the armed herdsmen are living in the forest between Makurdi and Abinse in the state, notng that they come out when they want to Commit Comities-rape women, kill and main innocent people , destroy farmlands and then run across the river when the security Operatives are after them but return back to the forest when the Coast is clear to regroup.
Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired army General, had mandated the security Operatives to move into the forest in different parts of the country, comb it and any one they found with sophisticated weapons, like AK47, they should shoot him but that was how far the order could go.
Many believe that if the security Chiefs had followed the presidential directive to deploy the troops into the forest across the country between March3 and now, the armed herdsmen and Bandits would have been cut to size and normalcy returned to the country. But they have allowed the Criminal elements to go back to the drawing board to perfect their strategies of carrying out their deadly attacks on the farmers and Communities in the flash point states
The armed herdsmen and Bandits may have realised that the security Operatives will find it difficult to move into the forest, let alone think of coming to Comb the area to chase them out that they have resorted to attacking top government officials, particular, the governors, in the flash point states to send a message to the Katsina state born Nigerian President and Commander –In-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, C-in-C, that they are ready for the security Operatives at any time.
The recent attempted attack on governor Ortom of Benue state may have been carried out by the armed herdsmen to draw out the Nigerian security Operatives out for war in order to turn the north Central state to another Zamfara and Kaduna, in the north west or Borno in the north east and thus, make the country completely ungovernable as the troops will be battling in different fronts to contain the Criminal elements.
The rumour making the rounds was that the outspoken Benue state governor had been attacked by the armed herdsmen because of his frosty relationship with the Fulani hersmen in the state. But the governor has come out to dismiss the claim, insisting that he has no problem with the herdsmen.
The governor who may have used the Opportunity of the attempted attack on his Convoy at Tyo Miu along Markurdi/Gboko road in Markurdi Local government area of the state by the armed herdsmen on Saturday, March 20, 2021, had said that his problem is with the herdsmen ‘’who have vowed to take over Nigeria as their ancestral home’’.
An aggrieved Ortom had told those that cares to listen that ,if as a governor leading a state, , he could not go to his farm , with all the security details around him , then one could imagine ‘’ the pains of the people of the state in the hands of the armed herdsmen in their farms’’.
The prompt attention of the security Operatives to arrive the scene of the inciden may have saved the situation from degenerating as the people were poised to move into the forest to search for the armed herdsmen who were out to kill their governor. Ortom is optimistic that with the steps that had been adopted by the security Operatives to avoid a repeat of such attacks on him or any other sitting governor in the state in the future, it will not be too long the people of the state will enjoy total peace in their own land ‘’to return and do their work back in their farm, live and survive, without fear of being killed by armed herdsmen’’.
The Benue governor had repeatedly said that the attempted attack on his Convoy by the armed herdsmen was not unexpected as information had already filtered out that he should expect such an attack in the state.
The Leadership of the Miyetti Allah cattle Breeders Asociation of Nigeria, were said to have singled him out in their Yola, Capital of Taraba, home state of Theophilous Danjuma, a retired amy General and former minister of Defence, during the Administration of for President Olusegun Obasanjo, meeting for Assassination in order to give them freedom to operate in the state unrestrained.
While the security Chiefs are said to doing everything within their capacity to secure the country as directed by the Nigerian President , Nyesom Wike, the Opposition , People’s Democratic governor of Rivers state and one of the strong critics of Buhari, may have sounded a death nail for Nigeria if Orton, the north central state of Benue governor had been killed by the armed herdsmen. ‘’if the armed herdsmen had killed Ortom, be prepared to bury Nigeria’’, Wike appears to have told the retired army General, Nigerian President.
The armed herdsmen attack on the Benue state Counterpart may have given oil –rich Rivers state governor the ammunition to speak about on the plot to kill him by Jamil Sarham, an army Major General, and then General Officer Commanding, GOC, 6 Division of the Nigerian Army, in Port Harcourt, , in Connivance with the APC, Leadership in the state to kill him during the 2019 , general election.
The Leadership of the PDP, may have seen the attempted attack on one of their serving governors in the northe central Geo-political region as an Opportunity to drag the Nigerian President , to the Peoples Court over his inability to secure the country ,thus putting the life every Nigerian in danger of attack by armed herdsmen , Bandits , Boko Haram or Islamic State of West African Insurgents, ISWAP, Insurgents. The party, which sees itself as the government in waiting in 2023, had described as ‘’reckless the Assassination attempt on governor Ortom’’.
In cutting the wings of the armed herdsmen and Bandits, the party has called on the army General ‘’to put the machinery in motion to arrest and prosecute the assailants who had trailed the Benue governor to the farm’’. The Opposition party Leadership were said to have also pleaded with Buhari, in his Capacity as the Chairman of the National Security Council, NSC, ‘’to beef up the security around governor Ortom, who has become the major target of the armed herdsmen, acting on the instruction of the Leadership of Miyetti Allah, in the state.
A Statement issued by Kola Ologbondiyan, the Party spokesperson, had attributed the attempted attack on the Benue state governor to his outspokenness and recent threat of exposing those allegedly sponsoring the incessant attacks on Communities in the state.
Appealing to the governor’ not to be deterred by the armed herdsmen attack, the party Leadership were said to have urged him to be Courageous and always be on the red alert, at all times, while providing Leadership to the people of the state’’.
The party which is getting worried over the security situation in the state and the country in general, had called on the people ‘’ to provide all the relevant information to the security agencies personnel to enable them do their work in order to ‘’fish out the armed herdsmen and their north west Bandit Collaborators in the state and other parts of the country.