Why Miyetti Allah, Atiku are angry with me — Ortom
By Peter Duru, Makurdi
Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state has said he has no regrets for his actions and owes nobody any apologies for the decisions he has taken, noting that he knows why Atiku Abubakar and Miyetti Allah were angry with him.
The added that the Miyetti Allah and the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, are profiling him for standing up for Benue people, assuring that he would defend the people with the last pint of his blood.
Governor Ortom, who spoke Tuesday when he hosted a delegation from The Church of Jesus Christ of Later-Day Saints in Makurdi, said he was being blackmailed by Miyetti Allah and the presidential candidate of his party for standing for the truth.
Recall that a Fulani socio-cultural association, Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, had in a communique at the end of its expanded National Executive Committee (NEC) and State Chairmen meeting held Monday in Abuja and jointly signed by Alhaji Abdullahi Bodejo (National President) and Engr. Saleh Alhassan (National Secretary) accused the governor of profiling Fulani.
Part of that communique read: “The meeting condemned the continuous profiling of Fulani pastoralists by the beleaguered Governor of Benue Samuel Ortom through his satanic anti-grazing law that he has been using to officially confisticate and auction millions of cattle belonging to Fulani in Benue-Nasarawa, Benue, and Benue-Taraba boarder communities.”
But in a swift reaction the governor recalled that “in 2017 when we were attacked by normadic armed Fulani herdsmen from Chad, Niger, Libya, Senegal and other countries, who decided that they would come and take over Nigeria and make it their own country, we cried loud and also decided to put in place policies that would safeguard our people.
“That was why we enacted the law prohibiting open grazing because ranching remains the global best practice for animal husbandry.
“And we insisted that the law must be respected by everybody whether you are a Fulani man or wherever you come from.
“But because the agenda was to take over and occupy our land, they are very angry with me. They have taken the Benue State government to court twice and we defeated them because we have a law in place.
“And today you hear blackmail from Atiku Abubakar who is the presidential candidate of my party, you hear blackmail from Miyetti Allah saying that I have profiled Fulani.
“But I have always qualified the type of Fulani that I am profiling; and they are responsible and they have also not denied it.
“They have come to accept and agree that they are responsible for the killings in Benue.
“I have lost over 5,000 people in Benue state from 2011 till date. And more than 120 security men have lost their lives in the state in the course of trying to maintain law and order and keep peace for Benue state.
“And then some people feel that they are above the law, otherwise what is wrong in obeying the open grazing prohibition law?
“I have not sent any Fulani away from Benue State. Any Fulani man who is law abiding remains part of us and an indigene.
“I have Fulani men in my government who are working with me. We have not sent anyone away.
“But one thing we have succeeded in doing is that we have exposed the Fulanis who come from other countries to displace our people.
“As I speak with you, we have over two million Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, aside the over 12,000 refuges from Cameroon, that I am hosting in Benue state.
“How do you want me to be a happy man and be praising you, praising Fulani, for what? I will not do it.
“With the last pint of my blood I remain committed to serving and protecting the people that placed me here and I am serving them as governor.
“I have no apologies and regrets for my actions because it is in line with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and it is in line with my teachings as a Christian.
“I believe in fairness, equity and justice. That is what our Lord Jesus Christ thought us. We should be fair to all and that is where I stand.
“And so I have no apologies to anybody. Somebody can be angry with me like our presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, said in Kaduna.
“But it was an agenda to profile me and set me against the Fulani. I know the agenda. At the appropriate time I believe that God will handle such issues.”
“I believe that people should live peacefully together, work together and enjoy together.”