Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, on Wednesday alarmed the nation and security agencies over the invasion of his Guma country home and the Local Government Area by strange herdsmen and 10,000 cows in furtherance of what he called a plan to unleash Fulani militia on his Benue people.
Mr. Ortom said this when he spoke to journalists in Makurdi, saying his council (Guma) Chairman, Anthony Shawon, gave him the information.
“Having failed to achieve their anti-Benue objectives, the next phase is the unleashing of Fulani militia. I have been told that after the Operation Whirl Stroke succeeded in chasing away the herdsmen, they have started moving into Guma again as of yesterday. I have already informed the Commander of OPWS and I hope security agencies will take up the matter
“I believe Mr President is not aware of happenings in the state but I expect him to caution the Inspector-General of Police and the Director General of DSS,” the governor said.
Mr. Ortom lamented the withdrawal of MOPOL from the state, including those posted to Internally Displaces Persons (IDPs) camps.
A signal dated July 31 and sent to the COMOPOL headquarters in Makurdi, asked all mobile policemen across the state to withdraw with immediate effect.
The governor, who recently dumoed the ruling party, APC, said despite the persecution, he remained committed to ensuring justice, fairness and equity for his people.
He said “as part of the witch-hunt against me and Benue people, the Inspector General of Police has ordered the withdrawal of policemen from all the Internally Displaced Persons camps across the state, leaving the IDPs vulnerable.”
Speaking on the disclosure by the EFCC on Monday that it had begun investigation of the Benue State governor, house of assembly members and permanent secretaries, Mr. Ortom urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to begin the probe of President Muhammadu Buhari’s security vote
“Why am I being investigated by the EFCC?” he asked.
“My records are there. But so far, I am the only governor in Nigeria whose security vote is being investigated by the EFCC.
“How can you single me out of 36 (governors) for investigation? It (security vote) is not something that any government will begin to disclose. Why should Benue’s case be different if not persecution? If the EFCC wanted a genuine investigation of security vote spending, they should have started from the Presidency and across the 36 states.
“If their focus was on Benue State, they should have started from 1999. But this is not the case. With the enormous security challenges in the state since my assumption of office, it is surprising that any one would expect me to do nothing but keep the security vote in the safe.”
Ortom added, “The security vote spending being investigated spans from 2015 to 2018, a period of grave security challenges in the state. I reiterate that the investigation is a clear case of persecution. I have not misappropriated, diverted or stolen any money. I have nothing to hide. I assure that the investigators can find nothing incriminating against me.”