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Benue Killings Al-Makura warns Ortom against careless allegations about killer herdsmen

The Nasarawa governor said there are no killer Fulani herdsmen hiding in his state as alleged by Ortom.

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Al-Makura warns Ortom against careless allegations about killer herdsmen play

Nasarawa state governor, Umaru Al-Makura

(Authority NGR)

Nasarawa State governor, Tanko Al-Makura, has criticised Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom for alleging that the Fulani herdsmen that carried out a string of deadly attacks in Benue that has led to the death of 71 people have been launching their attacks from Nasarawa.

Ortom had made this revelation while speaking to State House correspondents on Tuesday, January 9, 2018, after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari to discuss the attacks.

The governor said the attackers that have been terrorising his state over the past week have been launching their attacks from Tonga in Awe local government area in Nasarawa.

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While responding to Ortom's statement on Tuesday while in Abuja, Governor Al-Makura dismissed that there are any safe havens in Tonga for the attackers.

The governor explained that the town accommodates thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) in at least three different camps and that they could have served as easier targets for the herdsmen than the victims that were killed in Benue.

The governor expressed disappointment that Governor Ortom did not reach out personally to him to express his suspicion especially since his government has been lending a helping hand since the crisis started.

He said, "I am really taken back. This statement is most unfortunate. I will like to use this opportunity to say that there is nothing like that whatsoever.

"If anything, the Tonga that the governor is talking about in the Awe LGA is now the safe haven for displaced persons. As I speak with you today, there are more than three IDP camps in the Awe local government that cater to the number of people that have migrated from Benue to Nasarawa.

"To be specific, there are more than 7,000 people that are camped in Tonga. So, it is very ironical that a place that is supposed to be an area that has become a safe haven for IDPs can now be called militias' camp.

"In that case, the militia do not need to go as far as Benue. They have the prey within the vicinity of Tonga to attack. I think this is most unfortunate.

"With the efforts we, as a state, are making and collaborating and supporting the governor to find ways and means of solving this problem, that Nasarawa State can be identified as an area where some of these militants are coming from, is unfortunate.

"He could not approach me and give me an idea if there is anything that he saw or he is worried about.

"Besides, from all the discussions we had yesterday, there was no concrete security report stigmatising any part of Nasarawa State as harbouring people that are coming to attack Benue.

"I feel what should be of concern to us as leaders is the plight of the people and any such statement that is inflammatory is likely going to cause more confusion than what is already there.

"I had to cut short my vacation and come to find ways of helping my colleague. We have called all our security agencies to meet to find ways and means of helping Benue."

According Governor Ortom, the attacks were masterminded by the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore who have resisted the state's implementation of the anti-open grazing law since last year.

Benue attacks

In attacks allegedly carried out by Fulani herdsmen in Guma and Logo Local Government Area of Benue between Sunday, December 31, 2017, and Tuesday, January 2, 2018, 50 people were reportedly killed.

11 other people were killed in a fresh attack on Tombu village of Logo LGA, again by suspected Fulani herdsmen, on Saturday, January 6, 2018.

According to Governor Ortom's Chief Press Secretary, Terve Akase, the death toll for the attacks hit a total of 71 victims on Monday, January 8.

Earlier on Monday, the governor had declared three days of mourning in the state for the victims of the attacks. The mourning period runs from Tuesday, January 9, to Thursday, January 11, ending with a church service for the victims at the IBB square in Makurdi, followed by a mass burial.

Police charge 6 to court

The Benue State Police Command arraigned six Fulani herdsmen who are suspected to be connected to the massacre of over a dozen people in Guma LGA on January 2.

The suspects were allegedly involved in the killing of 19 people in Akor village and were arraigned at a Chief Magistrate Court in Makurdi before Chief Magistrate Isaac Ajim on Friday, January 5.

Alongside the six already charged to court, the state's police command also arrested two suspects in Logo LGA on Wednesday, January 3.

After meeting with Ortom on Tuesday, January 9, President Buhari promised that the country's security agencies are committed to bringing the perpetrators of the attacks to justice.

He posted on his official Twitter account (@MBuhari), "I just met with the Governor of Benue State. I assured Governor Ortom of our total commitment to the security of lives & property in Benue and elsewhere. We have deployed additional security resources to fish out the attackers, bring them to justice, and prevent further attacks."

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Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom with President Muhammadu Buhari



In response to the attacks, President Buhari had, on Monday, January 8, ordered Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, to relocate to the troubled state and prevent the escalation of the crisis.

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