Ortom Condemns Killing Of Benue Farmers, Asks Residents To Defend Themselves
Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has condemned the recent killing of farmers by gunmen suspected to be herders in Edumoga in Okpokwu Local Government Area (LGA) of the state.
In a statement on Tuesday by his Chief Press Secretary, Nathaniel Ikyur, the governor described the killing as barbaric and demanded justice for the victims.
He mourned the victims and described the murderers as cowards and criminals who must be fished out and prosecuted forthwith.
“When I started shouting about the menace of killer herdsmen in my state, many people thought I was playing to the gallery,” an angry Ortom was quoted as saying.
“Gradually, this has spread to all other parts of the country because the Federal Government has refused to act appropriately and decisively against them. This is the reason why they have continued with impunity.
“It has clearly shown that the killing of these innocent farmers in Edumoga, Okpokwu Local Government is yet another barbaric act by Fulani herdsmen. They must not go unpunished.”
The armed men invaded Edumoga in the early hours of Sunday where they killed some locals while the whereabouts of several others had yet to be ascertained.
Although the police authorities in the state confirmed the incident, they did not give the actual number of residents killed during the attack.
Chairman of Okpokwu LGA, Mrs Amina Audu, told Channels Television that residents recovered three more bodies on Monday, bringing total casualty figure to 13.
Governor Ortom, in his reaction, warned that the peaceful attitude of Benue people who accommodate others must not be taken for granted.
He stressed that the law must take its course to apprehend the criminals no matter how long it takes, although he appealed to residents to remain law abiding.
The governor, however, reiterated his earlier call on the people to stand up to defend themselves against the invaders, saying the laws of the land allow for self-defence.
“We are capable of defending ourselves if authorities concerned refuse to do so. We are not cowards; we are just law abiding,“ he stated.