Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom says herdsmen militia have been collaborating with other terrorist organisations to continue their attacks on the state and other regions of the nation.
The Governor revealed this in an interview in Washington, DC
“They collaborate by providing arms to them and doing the same thing by killing. Just like the Bible says, a thief cometh not only to steal but to kill and to destroy. So I have seen this collaboration in all these groups, they are doing the same thing,” he said.
The Governor emphasised that Boko Haram, ISIS, ISWAP, and armed herdsmen were all pursuing the same goals based on the evidence at his disposal, adding that they were the same organization going by different names.
Governor Ortom maintained that the enactment of the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law of the State was his administration’s way of finding a solution to the lingering issue which he noted has now exposed the agenda of the herdsmen to be beyond grazing of cattle.
The Governor insisted that the attacks were unprovoked and planned killings by the armed invaders, dispelling the false narrative that a farmer/herder crisis was happening in Benue State.
“Most of the people who are killed, and whose homes are destroyed are farmers. The insurgents coming for this Jihadists go to attack villagers, not really in the urban areas. So farmers live in the rural areas to engage in their farming activities.
“I must say that whatever you hear in America here about what is happening in Nigeria, some people have the narrative that it is farmer-herder crisis. It is not so. It is a dummy that has been sold to shield people away from knowing the truth.
“The truth is that you know in America here, in Europe, in Asia and other parts of the world, people go into animal husbandry through ranching.
“I did a study and I confirmed this in several countries with the statistics where more countries have more livestock than Nigeria, yet there are no crises.
He maintained that in Brazil for instance, “it is on record that they have over 250 million herds of cattle, while in India, it is the same thing with over 200 million herds of cattle. The whole cattle in Nigeria that you hear so much about the farmer-herder crisis are not up to 30 million herds of cattle,” Governor Ortom stated.
He maintained that the security agencies were doing their best to curb the attacks but regretted that such efforts were not enough, saying that such outfits don’t have the manpower to be stationed in the flashpoints to wade off the attackers.
Governor Ortom reaffirmed his appeal for a national security summit where all stakeholders would have the chance to contribute answers to the security issues while claiming that the Federal Government is involved in the current insecurity plaguing the nation.
The Governor also expressed concern that the presidency had not yet responded to his request for permission to purchase automatic weapons for the recently formed Community Volunteer Guards in order to enable the security organization to match the strength of Fulani herders plaguing the state.