The Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, has dismissed claims by critics that he stage-managed the attack on him by gunmen while inspecting his farm in Tyomu community along Makurdi-Gboko highway.
Ripples Nigeria reported the attack on Ortom’s convoy, in the morning of Saturday, March 20, by gunmen suspected to be Fulani herdsmen, who ambushed and opened fire on him and his security men.
The governor had said the attack came a few days after the leadership of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore held a meeting in Yola and singled him out as a thorn in their flesh that must be eliminated.
Speaking with journalists after a closed-door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, at the Presidential Villa, in Abuja on Tuesday, Ortom said it was not possible that he stage-managed his attack as his security personnel comprised of people of Fulani, Hausa, and Yoruba tribes.
“You see I prefer to keep my suggestion with Mr President between me and him. He has accepted and he has advised me on what to do. The rest is to follow up with security agencies, that is what I’m going to do. But impunity should not be allowed to continue to thrive in this country,” he said.
After the incident was reported on Saturday, some critics of the governor took to social media to express doubts over the attack, claiming it was stage-managed.
Some had claimed the governor was never attacked, but acting, saying he always looked for the slightest opportunity to discredit the Fulani tribe.
On Twitter, a user with the handle @el_bonga said “Whenever Ortom wants to attract attention, especially to bury his incompetence in Benue, he deploys the Fulani narrative. Ortom, a sitting governor with heavy security, said he ran for more than 1km. He said he saw men in black with arms & automatically concluded they’re Fulani.”
Another user @tobbeimatthew, said, “In the last 7 days, Fulani attacked Sunday Igboho, Fulani shot at Samuel Ortom, Fulani attacked Sunday Igboho’s mother. Does this even make sense to you? Interestingly the media are now collaborators with crisis merchants for ethnic profiling. The Syria way!”
Meanwhile, a Fulani group identified as Fulani Nationality Movement, FUNAM, had in a statement claimed it was responsible for Ortom’s attack.
The group said it planned to kill Ortom, because he stood against open grazing and Fulani interest in the country, but suffered a setback due to a slight communication error.
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