Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has sent Save My Soul Message to Nigerians alleging that
a group of Fulani elite, headed by the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Lamido Sanusi has concluded plans to eliminate him.
He alleged at a World Press Conference that this group in their desperate attempt had decided to set him up for hatred, vilification and attacks.
He declared: “My attention was drawn to a write-up signed by 52 personalities of Fulani extraction led by the deposed Emir of Kano, Lamido Sanusi in form of a letter to Mr President.
“The group which refused to give itself a name, accused me of being responsible for the recent killing of some pastoralists at Akwanaja, Doma Local Government Area (LGA) of Nasarawa state via a bomb attack.
“They tried to link the Benue State Livestock Guards with the killings, claiming that the pastoralists were bombed on their way from Benue to Nasarawa after they had retrieved their cattle.
“The group maliciously accused me of carrying out genocide against pastoralists. The dethroned Emir Sanusi did not stop at that. He made a video in Hausa in which he maligned me and called on all Fulanis to consider me as their enemy while urging those in Benue state to vote against me during the coming elections.”
He however stated that, “I consider these allegations and blackmail targeted at my person and the Government of Benue state as part of a grand conspiracy by enemies of the state to eliminate me.
“Since 2017 when we enacted the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law, I have escaped seven assassination attempts. Those behind the evil plots have not hidden their motive. They have made me an enemy for choosing to stand with my people and defending their rights to life and freedom.
“You will recall that on the 20th of March, 2021, I was attacked at Tyo-Mu along Makurdi-Gboko road by herdsmen. After the attempt on my life, a group named Fulani Nationality Movement (FUNAM) issued a press statement taking responsibility for the assassination attempt.
“They said I escaped because of a technical error, but that I wouldn’t be lucky another time. They vowed to get me at all costs. The recent utterances of some personalities such as Lamido Sanusi have revealed the true identities of those behind the sinister agenda to eliminate me.
“But my life is in the hands of God and only He can permit anything evil to come my way”, he stressed.
While narrating some incidents and plans by the Fulani to take over Benue state, Governor Ortom said, “They (Fulani) vowed to mobilize Fulanis across the West African sub-region to invade Benue state and stop implementation of the law (Anti-Open Grazing Law)
“They actualized their threats on the eve of the 2018 new year when they carried out simultaneous attacks on Guma and Logo LGA, killing 73 people whom we painfully gave a mass burial in Makurdi on January 11, 2018.
“Fulani herdsmen attacks on my people in the last couple of years have caused a devastating humanitarian crisis resulting in the killing of over 6,000 Benue people and the displacement of about two million others with many living in Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps.
“Our people have suffered the organized genocide masked in terrorism, not because they do not know their attackers. Benue people know those who are visiting them with unprovoked violence and killings, but as law-abiding citizens of Nigeria, we have chosen to sustain our belief in the conventional security agencies of this country.
“Now, the enemy has turned round to accuse our people of being the aggressors. Their aim is to blame the victim in order to launch more attacks on the state.
“Let me tell the dethroned Emir of Kano Lamido Sanusi and his conspirators that I cannot be intimidated by any of them. I hold the mandate of Benue people and my allegiance is to my people in respect of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which gives states as federating units, the power to enact laws for the good governance of their people.
“I have nothing personal against the Fulani. When I heard about the bomb attack in Doma in which pastoralists were killed, I visited my counterpart, the Governor of Nasarawa State, Governor Abdullahi Sule and sympathized with him and his people over the loss of his son and victims of the bomb incident”, Governor Ortom insisted.