549 views | Akpan Akata | March 22, 2021
President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered for an open and transparent probe of the assassination attempt on Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State as a Fulani group claiming to protect their interest, takes responsible for the attack.
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governors Forum is equally calling on security agencies to probe Saturday’s attempt on the life of its member.
Though the Fulani group in a statement claimed its aim was to kill Ortom, President Buhari however made the call Sunday night in his reaction to the attack that has shocked Nigerians.
Ortom said he was attacked by about 15 gunmen, suspected to be herdsmen, in the outskirts of Makurdi, the Benue capital on Saturday.
While Buhari strongly condemned the attack, he said through his spokesman, Garba Shehu, that the string of brutal attacks on individuals and communities in the state, with the latest one targeting the governor, was unacceptable.
“The President welcomes the dispatch of a high level team of crack investigators to the state from the Police headquarters in Abuja”, Shehu said, pointing out that his principal is urging security operatives to uncover who, or whatsoever, was behind the attacks and bring them to justice.
In expressing his sympathies, and that of the government of the federation to Governor Ortom and all Benue indigenes, President Buhari said the unfortunate incident must not be politicized.
He reiterated that an attack on one Nigerian is an attack on all Nigerians.
The President directed the Police to undertake a thorough investigation into the incident involving the governor and into all such incidents affecting individuals and communities in the state.
“Let there be open and transparent investigation and whoever is linked to it should be caught and be made to face the law”, the President directed.
“Our courageous fighters carried out this historic attack to send a great message to Ortum and his collaborators”, the Fulani group claimed in a statement signed by Umar Amir Shehu.
“Where ever you are, once you are against Fulani long term interest, we shall get you down. This is a clear warning. We hope those who take us for granted will get the indisputable message. Our intention is unequivocal: TO KILL HIM. That mission will one day be fulfilled and very soon too.”
Apart from threatening Ortom, the group also sent weird warning to southern states, saying its assailants are coming for them too. “We warn collaborators working against Fulani people across Nigeria: WE SHALL GET YOU irrespective of your hidden place.
“We state clearly, any state or individual that opposes RUGA will be confronted. Any State or individial(Sic) that opposes ranching, we shall get you. Speak against ranching and RUGA even on the internet: Our Noiseless fighters shall find and fix you.
“In the next few months, FUNAM will carry out attacks on strategic human and material assets of States and Non State groups or individuals known for their anti-Fulani campaigns.
” We shall hunt you down in your houses, in your work places, in your car, in your streets. It’s a matter of time.”
Whether FUNAM exists in reality, could not be ascertained. Whether it is a Fifth Columnist Group is also not clear.
In 2018, the group had triggered some furore in Nigeria, when it claimed the Fulani are the owners of the Nigerian territory from Sokoto to the Atlantic.
Sultan Abubakar of Sokoto, the spiritual head of the Fulani, doubted the authenticity of the group and disowned its statement as reckless.
The group has made several incendiary statements thereafter, without any consequence.
In February 2020, the group in a statement by its president Badu Salisu Ahmadu claimed a special Fulani strike force was responsible for the killing of 23 people in Plateau in late January of the year.
The governors elected under the platform of the PDP made the call in a statement by its Chairman and Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal on Sunday in Abuja.
Tambuwal urged the security agencies and other authorities of the state to swiftly and thoroughly investigate the matter of urgency as well as bring the perpetrators to justice.
He said that the PDP governors forum received with shock the alleged assassination attempt on
”We wish, therefore, to warn that any attempt to harm any Nigerian will be viewed by the forum as an attempt on all violence.
”We believe strongly that any dispute or perceived dispute, should be and must be resolved amicably without resort to violence,” he said.
Tambuwal condemned the attempt by certain retrogressive elements and centrifugal forces, trying to consign Nigeria into a failed state, saying Nigeria is not a Banana Republic.
The chairman of the forum, who said that security remained the primary responsibility of government, especially the Federal Government, added that every Nigerian deserved equal protection of the laws.
He said every citizen was entitled to freedom of speech and free exercise of all rights guaranteed in the constitution, subject only to law.
According to him, Nigeria is still a democracy and a nation of laws and not men.
He said that nobody, or group, however highly placed, should take the laws into their hands.
The Sokoto governor then stated that self help was an invitation to anarchy and must be nipped into the bud.
”The PDP governors are solidly united and are behind Ortom and will do the utmost to defend the rights and prerogatives of the Benue people who elected him.
”We expect the security agencies and other authorities of state, to investigate this matter swiftly and thoroughly and bring the perpetrators to justice”, Tambuwal said.