The Governor of Benue state Samuel Ortom has again raised concerned over the recent media outing of the National President of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, MAKH, Alhaji Abdullahi Bodejo saying his utterances were inciting and direct invitation to anarchy in the country.
Alhaji Bodejo in recent interview with daily news said “you are a governor and you want to enjoy peace in your state, you don’t need any long meeting, just create a particular area for the Fulani and equip them with modern amenities.
“We are also insisting that Ortom should apologise to our organization. He is looking for every avenue to justify his anti-grazing law. He should apologise to Fulani in Nigeria for killing them, for destroying their businesses and damaging our names.”
“It is Ortom that should apologise for killing Fulani. The only thing we are fighting is the anti-open grazing law, we are in court and we will continue to pursue it in the court till we have victory. We are in court because we can’t allow that law to work.”
But in a swift reaction yesterday in Makurdi, the Governor in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, CPS, Terver Akase called for the arrest and prosecution of the MAKH President for persistently making statements capable of stirring crises in the country.
Part of the statement read, “the MAKH outing has confirmed the fact that the group is not only responsible for attacks on farming communities in parts of the country but is also determined to reject any method of animal husbandry that does not agree with nomadic cattle breeding and are poised to sponsor violence in states not willing to donate land for open grazing.
“Utterances such as those of Bodejo are inciting and direct invitation for anarchy. No group should be above the law to be dictating to states on how to accord preference to it at the expense of other Nigerians.
“Bodejo in the same media reports had singled out Governor Ortom for vilification, saying the Governor has been playing politics with the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law to win sympathy and gain advantage.”
The statement continues “We find the statement not only as a real threat to peace but also a prelude to another round of attacks on Benue communities by herdsmen militia.
“This is the same manner the group threatened in May 2017, a few days after Governor Ortom signed the ranching law that they would mobilize their members across West Africa to invade Benue and resist implementation of the legislation.
“They carried out their threat on the eve of 2018 new year when their armed militia murdered 73 innocent persons, destroyed property worth millions of naira and displaced over 500,000 people in Guma and Logo local government areas.
“As a state, Benue will not take the current threat by Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore lightly. The law of the land is sacrosanct and must be obeyed by everyone. Any individual or group who wants to breed animals in the state should be prepared to ranch them. “On the “order” given to states by Bodejo to carve out land for grazing reserves/Ruga settlements, we advise the group to exclude Benue from their list as there is no land for open grazing in the state.
“Nigerians irrespective of place of origin and ethnicity who wish to do lawful business in Benue State are encouraged to do so as the Ortom administration is willing to collaborate with investors in different sectors of the economy,” part of the statement read.
Governor Ortom assured of his commitment to supporting security agencies to guarantee peace in all parts of the state.
Buratai launches Exercise Cat Race II in Benue
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai has flagged off a spike operation in Benue state code-named Exercise Ayem K’Akpatuma (Cat Race) II with a vow to go after all criminal gangs operating in the state. Lt. Gen.
Buratai also advised the criminal elements to desist in their acts and surrender their weapons or “be met with the decisive and appropriate action.”
Flagging off the Exercise yesterday in Makurdi, the Army Chief said it would be conducted within the One Division, Three Division and the 707 Special Forces Brigade of the Nigerian Army areas of responsibilities.
He said, “Exercise Ayem K’Akpatuma I was earlier conducted last year to stem the tide of rising insecurity in the North Central and part of North West. The attendant successes recorded necessitated the commencement of the Exercise Ayem K’Akpatuma II.
“No doubt the challenge of herders/farmer clashes have been brought under control by the military with the help of other sister security agencies.
“However recently there have been increasing cases of banditry and communal crisis in these general areas. The Nigeria army will continue to defend the territorial integrity of the country as well as aid the civil authorities to maintain peace and security.
“We have therefore decided to launch Exercise Ayem K’Akpatuma II to stem cases of kidnapping, communal crisis among others. And to sustain and consolidate on the gains recorded initially by Exercise Ayem K’Akpatuma I last year.
“The Exercise will be conducted between November 1 and December 23, 2019. Troops are expected to conduct themselves in the most professional manner as expected and the army will not condone any act of human right abuses by the troops that will be involved in the Exercise,” he added.
Earlier, the Commander 707 Special Forces Brigade Makurdi, Brig. Gen. Emmanuel Emekah represented by his Chief of Staff, Colonel Abubakar Bugaji said: “the Exercise is part of the efforts of the Special Forces Brigade in achieving the mission of the Chief of Army Staff which is to have a professionally responsive Nigerian Army in the discharge of its constitutional roles.”
In his speech, Governor Samuel Ortom represented by his deputy, Mr Benson Abounu said the Exercise was timely as it would help the state curb the menace of kidnapping assuring that his government would give maximum support to the exercise to succeed.