The level of insecurity in Benue state has reached an alarming height with Samuel Ortom, governor of the state, calling for assistance.
Two mobile policemen deployed in the state were on Monday hacked to death by a suspected militia group, while another officer sustained injury in the attack.
Ortom disclosed this while speaking with state house correspondents after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday.
The governor asked how the people could feel safe when those trained to protect them had become vulnerable.
The tragic incident occurred one week after suspected herdsmen killed over 40 people in different attacks.
“Just yesterday (Monday) in Logo local government, mobile policemen who were deployed to keep vigil to protect the people and the land, this militia came, exchanged fire with them and caught two of them,” he said.
“They were slaughtered like goats. They shot another one, machete him and left him in the pool of his blood but luckily he did not die. We have taken him to the hospital, we are treating him, the other one that was declared missing was found today.
“So, when it gets to the level of militia killing security men who are armed and trained to protect lives and property, is it not taking a dangerous dimension? Who is now safe?”
Ortom said he was open to the idea of deploying more troops in Benue in order to bring about peace and stability.
He lamented the effect of the killings at a time the country is experiencing many challenges.
“Anything that can stop the killings of my people, I will go for it. I’ll support it. Any policy or any directive, anything that will help stop the killing of these innocent people who are not armed because this cannot continue,” he said.
“We know that the continuity of this will create greater challenges. I don’t want it to continue. We are struggling with economic issues, we are struggling with political issues and we are struggling with several other issues in this country, security issues and all that, Benue state should not be part of this there is no need for it.”
He also defended the decision of his government to prohibit open grazing.
“The law on prohibition of Open Grazing and Establishment of Ranching was made out of the necessity to ensure that we have peace for herdsmen and farmers and that is what we have done,” he said.
“The law seeks to protect all and as I talk to you, except this Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, who are instigating people to fight and to kill us, there are Fulani men in Benue state doing their business properly.
He expressed reservations over the idea of establishing cattle colony. Audu Ogbeh, minister of agriculture, who is also from Benue, had said plans were in place to establish the colony as part of measures to check the crisis between herdsmen and farmers.
But Ortom said he had not been briefed about the plan.
“I’m waiting to be briefed about what colony means. I don’t understand it but like I keep saying, for us the way forward is ranching,” he said.
“Up till this time I am talking to you, the way forward is ranching because it is global best practice. And it is not just practised in other parts of the world, on African soil in Swaziland, South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique almost all African countries that rear cattle, they use ranch, so why can’t we do the same thing here?
“For the colony thing, I don’t know what colony is.”
Credit: the cable.