Ortom Commends Buhari’s Shoot-At-Sight Order On Criminals With AK-47

A file photo of Benue state Governor Samuel Ortom
A file photo of Benue state Governor Samuel Ortom

 

Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his directive given to security agents to shoot anyone bearing AK-47 rifles in the country.

The Governor, who gave the commendation on Thursday in Makurdi, the state capital, said the President’s order would reduce the level of criminality, banditry, and militia herders’ attacks on Benue communities as well as in other parts of the country.

READ ALSO: Nigeria’s Unity Not Negotiable, Yahaya Bello Says After Meeting Buhari

“I wish to commend Mr President for his recent order against those bearing AK47 rifles. This I am sure will reduce the high rate of criminality, banditry, and militia herdsmen attacks on our farming communities,” the Governor said.

Ortom added that his cry for help has finally received attention; as he appealed for special intervention to rebuild schools destroyed by herdsmen attacks in the state.

“I don’t only criticise, I also commend where necessary. And I want to say shame on those sycophants who were bashing me for writing to Mr President because he has finally heeded my advice,” he added.

Governor Ortom made the call today while receiving the chairman, governing council of the Universal Basic Education Commission Abuja, Professor Adamu Usman who commended the public school renovation and reconstruction efforts of the Ortom administration.

AK-47 Comments: Ortom, Mohammed Reconcile, Embrace Each Other

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom embraces his Bauchi counterpart, Bala Mohammed following their reconciliation on March 2, 2021 in Rivers State.

 

Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed and his Benue State counterpart, Samuel Ortom have settled their differences over comments made on AK-47  amid the security situation in the country.

Mohammed had on February 12 said Fulani herders have no option but to carry AK-47 for self-defence because they are being attacked and killed by cattle rustlers.

He also condemned South West, South-East Governors, and also Governor Ortom over the manner in which they are handling farmer-herder clashes.

Governor Ortom had on February 22 responded to his Bauchi counterpart, accusing him of being a terrorist based on his utterances supporting herdsmen from carrying AK-47 to defend themselves.

Ortom also accused Mohammed of being a part of those threatening his life stressing that the Bauchi governor should be held responsible if anything happens to him.

READ ALSO: Six People Killed In Fresh Kaduna Village Attacks

Following the altercation between the two governors, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) under whose platform they were elected into office, waded into their conflict.

Also, Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike and his Adamawa counterpart, Ahmadu Fintiri, initiated reconciliation efforts.

The efforts seemed to have paid off on Tuesday with governors Ortom and Mohammed embracing each other in Rivers State.

After a closed-door meeting at Wike’s private residence in Port Harcourt, the governors insisted that their arguments over a comment made by the Bauchi governor on the bearing of arms by herders were for the good of the country, not to cause an ethnic crisis.

See phots below:

We Don’t Carry AK-47 Like Herdsmen, Benue Farmers Refute Lalong’s Accusation

PHOTO USED TO ILLUSTRATE THE STORY: Farmers on a field in Yobe State.

 

The association of farmers in Nigeria says they are shocked by the comments recently made by Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong who said both herders and farmers carry AK-47.

The Benue State chapter of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) who disclosed this in a statement on Wednesdays said they the governor is wrong and that they do not carry AK-47 like herdsmen.

Governor Lalong had earlier on Tuesday during an interview on Channels Television Breakfast programme Sunrise Daily lamented over the rise in arms proliferation in the country noting that both herders and farmers now carry AK-47 in self-defence.

READ ALSO: Kaduna Security: 18 Killed As Bandits Attack Three LGAs

“We watched with shock, Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong on Channels Television where he accused farmers of carrying AK-47 riffles like Fulani herdsmen.

“All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Benue State Chapter finds Governor Lalong’s accusation grossly unacceptable, and we hereby reject it in its entirety.

“We consider the Plateau State Governor’s utterances as an insult to farmers of Benue State in particular and Nigerian farmers in general whose efforts in feeding the nation are being frustrated by atrocities of armed herdsmen,” the farmers’ association said in reaction to Lalong.

The farmers stressed that they are law-abiding citizens and do not take the law into their hands.

“Benue farmers are peaceful and law-abiding. We do not take the law into our hands despite the many unprovoked attacks on our members who are killed in their hundreds and their only source of livelihood destroyed by armed herdsmen.”

The farmers in the statement which was jointly signed by its State Chairman, Aondongu Saaku, and PRO Anthony Onu Ogbole commended the efforts of Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom in the enactment of the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law and numerous other measures he is taking to guarantee peace and security in the state.

‘Please Don’t Carry AK-47’; Bauchi Governor Appeals To Herdsmen

 

The Governor of Bauchi State, Bala Mohammed, has appealed to all arms-bearing herders to drop their weapons, particularly the AK-47 as the country continues to grapple with various security challenges.

The governor made the appeal on Wednesday, during the official launch of the 2021 Annual Livestock Vaccination Campaign at Galambi cattle ranch in the state.

Speaking further, he assured all innocent farmers, herders and people of the state that their wellbeing will remain a priority of his government while efforts are being made to reduce the farmer-herder clashes.

“I will do everything to protect you and support you because through time and history, you seem to have been lampooned, subjected to caricature, but you remain humane, simple, you don’t show so much aggression and of course, that humility, is always what we recognize,” Governor Mohammed said.

“Please don’t carry the AK-47; try to make sure that you remain peaceful”.

He also promised to continue to be a voice for the innocent Fulani herdsmen while advising them to conduct themselves peacefully and identify the miscreants among them for punitive measures.

Meanwhile, Governor Mohammed said he has no apology for speaking up against ethnic profiling of Fulani Herdsmen.

He, however, assured Nigerians that his previous comments were not intended to generate controversies and escalate tension.


RELATED:

‘AK-47 Is A Figure Of Speech’: Gov. Bala Mohammed Defends Comment About Armed Herdsmen

Ortom Slams Bala Mohammed, Calls Him ‘Terrorist Terrorising Nigeria’

National Livestock Plan, If Implemented, Will Solve Farmer-Herder Crisis – Lalong


 

‘A figure of Speech’

Weeks ago, the governor had defended the herdmen who carry arms, stating that they only do so as a means of self-defence because they are being attacked and killed by cattle rustlers.

“The Fulani man is practicing the tradition of trans-human, pastoralism, he has been exposed to the battery of the forests, the animals, and now, the cattle rustlers, who carry guns, kill him and take away his commonwealth – that is his cows – he had no option than to carry Ak-47 because the society and the government are not protecting him.

“It is not his fault, it is the fault of the government and the people; you don’t criminalise all of them because in every tribe there are criminals. You should be very sensitive. We have to be careful,” Governor Mohammed had said.

Last Friday, he however, clarified the statement, explaining that he only used ‘AK-47’ as a figure of speech.

“It is a figure of speech to show you the despondence, the desperation and frustration and the agony that this particular person is exposed to by his own people, by his own tribe and by other tribes who have all seen him as a criminal and therefore, he has the inalienable right to protect himself,” the governor said in an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily. 

“What I said in that context, I was addressing the media people. And the topic was the use of the media to foster national unity and I was trying to situate the problem,” the former Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT) explained.

“The Fulani man is so exposed, dehumanised, demonised in fact, because he is being seen as a bandit and so, anywhere he goes, he is being pursued. Not only in the southwest or the southeast, even in the north because he is in the cattle route, his commonwealth which I call his cows, are being taken and rustled and of course, sometimes, they are fined beyond your imagination.

Arms Proliferation: Herdsmen And Farmers Carry AK-47, Gov Lalong Laments

Chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum, Simon Lalong during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on February 23, 2021.

 

Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong has lamented over the rise in arms proliferation in the country noting that both herders and farmers now carry AK-47 in self-defence.

He said the alarming trend can be curtailed if the Federal Government introduces the modern form of livestock production which is in the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP).

“At the time there were farmers-herdsmen clashes here (in Plateau), we arrested people, farmers also had AK-47 and the herdsmen were also holding AK-47 too.

READ ALSO: Armed Herdsmen: PDP Wades Into Ortom/Bala Mohammed Disagreement

“But if you want all of them not to hold AK-47 again, you must put deliberate efforts to curtail the influx of light arms and secondly find ways to take these people away from the old type of farming and then introduce them to the modern system,” he said.

Lalong, who is also the Chairman of the Northern Governor’s Forum blamed the trend of carrying weapons in self-defence on open grazing which allows free movement of herders.

He also stressed that he does not support the bearing of arms by either farmers or herders.

“Today, we are now seeing the hazard of allowing people do open grazing here and there. But they (herders) also want solution; by the time you explain to them, they also want to stay in one place, they would also want to keep away from carrying AK-47.

“I’m not justifying anybody to carry AK-47 but don’t forget that in the course of our deliberations and investigations, it was not only Fulani herdsmen that were carrying AK-47, but even the farmers were also carrying AK-47.

“It is just proliferation of arms in respect to guarding themselves. Everybody is trying to protect himself, we shouldn’t allow self-help,” the governor said.

Ortom Alleges Threat To Life, Says Bala Mohammed Should Be Held Responsible’

Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom has accused his Bauchi State counterpart, Bala Mohammed of being a part of those threatening his life.

Ortom made the accusation on Monday while briefing journalists in Makurdi, Benue State capital.

He also accused Governor Mohammed of being a terrorist by supporting illegal arms wielding foreign herdsmen.

“I want to think that, with what he said and what those herdsmen wrote to me and said that they were going to assassinate me, Bala Mohammed is also part of it, with what he has said.

Governor Ortom aslo called on Governor Mohammed to render an unreserved apology to Nigerians.

 

“And if anything happens to me, I don’t want anybody to be in doubt, Bala Mohammed should be held responsible. Especially his last week outing after the condemnable remarks he made about Fulani carrying AK-47 and living anywhere in Nigeria.

READ ALSO: Ortom Slams Bala Mohammed, Calls Him ‘Terrorist Terrorising Nigeria’

“He came back to say Ortom is responsible for the hatred against Fulani men and I regard this as a way of vilifying me and profiling me towards assassination. He wants to instigate the Fulani people against me. I am not against Fulani people, they are in Benue State and they remain here,” Ortom said.

He also called on Governor Mohammed to render an unreserved apology to Nigerians and learn from the provisions of the constitution that, land both territorial, forest, and aquatic, are vested on the governor of a state who holds them in trust, instead of indulging in inciting Fulani herdsmen against innocent Nigerians.

“I think the governor of Bauchi State, my brother, Governor Bala Mohammed should just come out and apologise to Nigerians,” Governor Ortom said.

Ortom Slams Bala Mohammed, Calls Him ‘Terrorist Terrorising Nigeria’

A photo collage of Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom and Bauchi State Governor Bala Mohammed

 

Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom on Monday accused his Bauchi State counterpart, Bala Mohammed, of being a terrorist based on his utterances supporting herdsmen from carrying AK-47 to defend themselves.

Governor Ortom who made this accusation while addressing journalists in Makurdi, Benue State capital said Governor Mohammed must be a terrorist for supporting illegal arms wielding by foreign herdsmen.

“I wouldn’t want to be joining issues with my brother, friend, and colleague Bauchi Governor. But since he has continued to vilify, intimidate and blackmail me. It is said that silence is consent. I am compelled to respond to him.

“I am beginning to think that my brother, the governor of Bauchi State is part of the terrorist Fulani organisation that is terrorising this country.

“Why do I say this? This is the same governor who took the oath of office to protect the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This constitution does not leave room for allowing foreign herdsmen to come in without valid papers.

“This is a man who says that a Fulani man is a global man and can come in from anywhere and enter Nigeria. It is quite disappointing to hear a governor who took the oath of office …maybe he should go back and check the oath of office he took to check maybe the constitution gives room for foreign terrorist Fulani herdsmen to come into Nigeria,” Ortom said.

He also reacted to Governor Mohammed’s statement which says herders can carry AK-47 to defend themselves noting that “his recent outburst that Fulani herdsmen are justified for carrying AK-47 to protect themselves. I don’t know where the constitution of this country allows that.”

The Benue Governor there called on Governor Mohammed to render an unreserved apology and learn from the provisions of the constitution that, land both territorial,  forest, and aquatic, are vested on the governor of a state who holds them in trust, instead of indulging in inciting Fulani herdsmen against innocent Nigerians.

 

AK-47 A Figure Of Speech?

Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State last week Friday defended his comment about armed herders, explaining that he used AK-47 as a figure of speech for protection.

“It is a figure of speech to show you the despondence, the desperation and frustration and the agony that this particular person is exposed to by his own people, by his own tribe and by other tribes who have all seen him as a criminal and therefore, he has the inalienable right to protect himself,” the governor said during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily. 

 

A Flurry Of Condemnation

Governor Bala Mohammed’s comment on armed herdsmen had earlier triggered a wave of condemnation from his counterparts and Nigerians alike, increasing calls for the prohibition of open-grazing.

Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State and his Ondo counterpart, Rotimi Akeredolu, were quick to knock the Bauchi governor’s statement. Akeredolu had described it as uncalled for, arguing that it could further escalate tensions in the West African nation.

“For what purpose? Bala Mohammed has even poured more petrol into the fire because his speech is unexpected of him. It will become very serious and nobody will be spared,” Akeredolu, a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), noted.

Herders Have No Option Other Than To Carry AK-47, Bala Mohammed Condemns Ortom, Others

Governor Bala Mohammed

 

Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed on Thursday said Fulani herders have no option but to carry AK-47 for self-defence because they are being attacked and killed by cattle rustlers.

He also condemned South West, South-East Governors, and also Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State over the manner in which they are handling farmer-herder clashes.

“The Fulani man is practicing the tradition of trans-human, pastoralism, he has been exposed to the battery of the forests, the animals, and now, the cattle rustlers, who carry guns, kill him and take away his commonwealth – that is his cows – he had no option than to carry Ak-47 because the society and the government are not protecting him.

“It is not his fault, it is the fault of the government and the people; you don’t criminalise all of them because in every tribe there are criminals. You should be very sensitive. We have to be careful,” Governor Mohammed said.

While condemning his colleagues in South-West and South-East over the manner in which they are handling the herders’ crisis, Mohammed said these governors are not accomodating other tribes.

He faulted the quit notice given to Fulani herders in some southern states, particularly Ondo, pointing out that the “southern governors are wrong.”

“On the herders-farmers clashes, you have seen what our colleagues in the South-West are doing and some of them in South-East. Some of us told them with all modesty and humility – you are wrong.

READ ALSO: Act Before Herdsmen Drag Nigeria Into Civil War, Ortom Writes Buhari

“But the person that is most wrong is the Governor of Benue State, my brother and my colleague, Governor Ortom; he started all these. If you don’t accommodate other tribes we are also accommodating your tribes in Bauchi and other places.

“We have so many Tiv people working and farming in Alkaleri, farming in Tafawa Balewa, farming in Bogoro Local Government Area of Bauchi; has anyone asked them to go? We have not, because it is their constitutional right to be there.

“We have Yoruba people in Bauchi for over 150 years, even before the birth of Nigeria. Nobody has told them to go; some of them have risen to become permanent secretaries in Gombe, Bauchi, and Borno,” Governor Mohammed added.

Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom had earlier accused the Federal Government of failing to secure the country by being bias in handling cases of attacks allegedly carried out by armed herdsmen.

Ortom who resumed duty on Wednesday, February 3 after recovering from COVID-19 infection reacted to the recent outcry against the atrocities allegedly committed by herdsmen ranging from kidnapping, murder, rape, destruction of farmland among others.

He urged the Federal Government to take quick action before the nation descends into crisis.

Police Confirm Militia Groups ‘Armed With AK-47’ In Benue

Police Confirm Militia Groups ‘Armed With AK-47’ In Benue
File photo: Jimoh Moshood

 

Police have confirmed the existence of armed militia groups in Benue State which they said investigations would reveal soon.

Speaking on Thursday during an interview on Channels Television, the Force Public Relations Officer, Mr Jimoh Moshood, countered claims by Governor Samuel Ortom that there was nothing of such.

“Yes, they were armed with AK-47 (riffles); we have records, we have footage and you can’t just start arming people,” he said when he appeared on Sunrise Daily.

READ ALSO: Six Persons Killed In Fresh Attacks In Benue LGs

“There are a lot of militia groups equally in Benue and we are looking at all those areas to ensure that the actual perpetrators of this mayhem are promptly arrested.

“People who are supposed to ensure that when they observe (you say you have a guard) and report back to the police that would probably do the appropriate thing; if such a guard is armed with AK-47 rifle, how do you control that, how do you prevent such AK-47 (riffle) from going into wrong hands?” Moshood questioned.

He also disputed claims that the ranch guards who were inaugurated by the state government were unarmed, insisting that the police have their evidence.

The Force spokesman noted that it was unlawful for any person to be in possession of arm without the consent of the Federal Government.

He added that the said ranch guards were meant to take note of any suspicious activity and report to the police, stressing that investigations had revealed that they were carrying prohibited weapons.

On Ortom’s claims, Moshood said: “Yes, I’m disputing that because we have evidence that they were armed with AK-47 rifles.”

“It is equally important for people to know that we are investigating that, we must know the source of these AK-47 rifles.

“Any organisation that you are setting up before you can carry firearms must be approved by the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and it shouldn’t be a prohibited firearm.

“When you don’t draw the police into this and you arm people, you turn them into militias because you don’t control what they do with these firearms,” he added.

The Force spokesman, however, said the police have been supporting the Benue State government in terms of implementing the law on prohibition of open-grazing in the state.

According to him, the police have a responsibility to support any law made at all levels of government, as well as the ones made by the leadership of any community towards keeping the peace in the society.

Moshood said, “Even when you look at the international law, it’s like picking a cutlass and cutting a footpath and everybody is compelled to pass the footpath; so if that is the norms of the people, we should enforce it for them.”

Plateau: Police Arrest Suspected Herdsmen With Ammunition

Police-Herdsmen-PlateauPolice have apprehended seven suspected Fulani herdsmen along Riyom/Ganawuri road in Plateau State.

The arrest was made by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigerian Police Force during a stop and search operation on the highway.

The arrest was disclosed to reporters by the Plateau State Commissioner of Police, Adekunle Oladunjoye, during a briefing on the command’s activities in Jos.

Mr Oladujoye said that 504 rounds of 7.62mm live ammunition, four locally constructed AK47 butts and other incriminating items were found on the suspects during the operation.

He hinted that the Police also nabbed a group of syndicate known as ‘Sarasuka’, who specialised in molesting residents around the new stadium within the Jos metropolis.

The Police Commissioner appealed to the public to help complement the efforts of the security agents in combating crimes and criminal activities in the north-central state.

He asked them to help provide useful information on activities of criminal elements and their probable hideouts within their communities, in order to ensure guaranteed security of lives and property in the state.

Federal Troops Repel Boko Haram In Gwoza

Boko HaramTroops of the Nigeria Army have repelled an attempt by the Boko Haram insurgents to recapture Gwoza town of Borno State.

The insurgents reportedly stormed the town in large numbers in the early hours of Friday and unleashed havoc but troops on ground responded with fire power and repelled them.

Anti-aircraft, AK-47 are among items recovered from the assailants in a battle that lasted till nearly 8AM.

Casualty figure from both sides still remain unspecified at the moment.

Gwoza town, bordering the notorious Sambisa forest was only liberated from the insurgents in March 2015.

Some residents have already abandoned the Gwoza makeshift camp in Maiduguri and since returned home.

 

Boko Haram
Images from Gwoza, Courtesy Nigerian Army

Kogi Police Parades 45 Criminal Suspects

policeThe Kogi State Police Command has paraded 45 suspected criminals, including a lady for alleged kidnapping, armed robbery and cattle rustling activities in the state.

Also paraded among the 45 suspects were 72-year-old Ahmed Andoke, a relative of former Minister of Justice, Mohammed Andoke, and an All Progressive Congress (APC) candidate in the last House of Assembly election for Okehi State Constituency, Idris Ozi Shuaibu, and a cripple alleged to be in custody of stolen items and financing some criminal gangs terrorizing the state.

Following the upsurge of activities of armed bandits, kidnappers, social miscreants and hoodlums in the state the Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, deployed a special anti-crime task force to relocate to the state and quickly address the situation.

The State Governor, Idris Wada, has promised to give out the sum of 5 million naira to anybody with credible information that will lead to tracking down the kidnappers terrorizing the state.

On parading the suspects and their loot, the Public Relation Officer (PRO) of the force, Emmanuel Ojukwu, said the squad has in the last three weeks quickly design a template to contain the situation.

Items recovered from the suspects are: 3 faces prepaid meters, AK 47, double barrel guns, locally made Dane guns, cartridges, charms, pump action, cars, cutlasses, military camouflage uniform, ATM cards etc.

Two of the harden criminals popularly called cat and target, were said to be terrorizing people of the Okene axis and were alleged to have killed some Policemen on duty and went away with their guns, were called for questioning.

Though Journalists could not ask questions from the suspects, and this made some of the suspects protest by shouting out, while others claimed it was a  frame up.

The police said the suspects will be charged to court after the completion of their investigation, not until then, they will be under the custody of the Police.