Governor Ortom of Benue state has lamented that the Federal Government is busing going after agitators while sparing bandits.
Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has queried President Muhammadu Buhari, accusing him of sparing bandits while busy clamping down on agitators like Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Igboho.
Ortom, who spoke on Channels Television’s ‘NewsNight’ programme on Monday, therefore, challenged the Buhari regime to go after bandits and Fulani militiamen killing, raping and kidnapping people all over the country with the same gusto it has used to pursue separatists.
The PUNCH reports that in the last few months, secessionist agitation has been loud in the Southern part of the country, championed mainly by Kanu and Igboho. The agitators cited perceived injustice in the allocation of resources and appointment into critical offices, insecurity, under-development, amongst reasons for wanting to leave the country.
Kanu, who was based in the United Kingdom, was recently hastily extradited from a foreign country. He has been detained in the custody of the Department of State Services and is facing terrorism-related charges before Justice Binta Nyako at a Federal High Court in Abuja.
On the other hand, the secret police raided Igboho’s Ibadan residence in July, killed two of his associates and arrested 12 of them. The DSS declared Igboho wanted after he narrowly escaped the raid. He was, however, intercepted at an airport in Benin Republic while he tried to catch a flight to Germany. The agitator has spent about three weeks in a Beninese custodial facility while the Nigerian Government has been pushing for his extradition.
Many Nigerians have constantly lampooned the Buhari regime for allegedly sparing bandits and terrorists on the rampage in the northern part of the country while security forces clamp down on Igboho, Kanu and other separatists.
Speaking on Monday night as a guest on the television programme monitored by The PUNCH, Ortom alleged that Fulani militiamen have consistently targeted his state because he banned open grazing.
The governor said, “I see a lot of lack of commitment on the part of the Federal Government in ensuring that we have security in this country. I will give an example: recently, the Federal Government has demonstrated the capacity by going after Nnamdi Kanu, who was leading IPOB. I am told he was even arrested in a foreign land with the cooperation of Interpol and so on.
“I heard that Sunday Igboho has been arrested. With that kind of commitment, it shows that the Federal Government has the capacity.
“Today, bandits, Fulani militia are terrorising the entire country, the country is in disarray and these Fulani militias have come out with video clips…and they have identified where they are. It was amazing that a top government official comes out to say that the Fulani militias are invisible. How? Are they spirits? Why is the government not going after these Fulani militias and bandits that are terrorising the entire country and terrorising my state?
“Just two days ago, two humanitarian workers were gunned down in my own village by these Fulani militias and their phones taken away. And the Fulani militias took the phones and when one of their (victims’) brothers called, they confirmed that they had killed them and they are in possession of their phones and that they should tell me to repeal the prohibition of open grazing otherwise they have the right to continue to kill since I said there would be no open grazing in Benue State.
“These people who are here, who are calling themselves bandits and are kidnapping our children from school, who are calling themselves Fulani militia and are killing people, driving them from their lands and taking over, why is the Federal Government not going after them like they went after Sunday Igboho and went after Nnamdi Kanu?”
Ortom said over 1.5 million persons have been displaced in Benue State due to the attacks by marauders, adding that the All Progressives Congress administration has failed in all aspects of governance.
“APC has failed this country. Is it security, is it economically, politically and socially? Where are we today? We can’t go to our villages. How many Nigerians can move from Lagos to Kano, Abuja to their villages? It is a problem. APC has completely failed, so, why should I go there to join them? To do what?” he queried.
The PUNCH had earlier reported that presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, said separatists were not the only ones feeling the maddening heat of the government but bandits and terrorists were also being treated in the language they understand.