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I don’t run any militia group – Ortom

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Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has debunked claims that his government runs a militia group.

He spoke on Thursday in Makurdi, when the Benue Youth Prayer Group and National Union of Road Transport Workers, Benue State chapter paid him a condolence visit over recent killings.

Recall that Ahmad Salkida, a journalist with close ties to Boko Haram leadership, has in a stunning article on his blog, salkida.com, linked the leader of Benue vigilante group, Aliyu Tashaku, to the Boko Haram sect.

Salkida noted that Tashaku’s militia is saddled with the responsibility of protecting the people of Benue state against what is widely known as armed Fulani herdsmen who have been on the loose killing and maiming.

But Governor Ortom has described the rumour that he runs the Benue armed militia group as a way of diverting attention from the actual problem.

Ortom said, “the rumour is the handiwork of mischief makers who want to divert the attention of people from the killings.”

He insisted that Benue does not need any militia to tackle the incessant attacks on innocent indigenes, “because the Lord God Almighty will help them to defeat their enemies”.

He recalled that if he had wanted to keep a militia group, he would not have disarmed those that were in possession of illegal arms in the first place.

The governor urged his people not to lose faith and hope but hold unto God, adding that they would be victorious at the end.

Leader of the prayer group, Pastor Joshua Ikyernum, said their visit was to identify with the governor over the recent killings of no fewer than 73 persons in the state by some yet to be identified gunmen.

Ikyernum said the group was against the genocide that was presently going on in the state, adding that the perpetrators would surely not go unpunished.

He called on the Federal Government to defend Benue State people and to also arrest those behind the heinous acts.

Secretary-General of NURTW, Comrade Boga Abuul, said the motive of the herdsmen was not free grazing but to take over the entire Benue State valley which they claimed belonged to them.

Abuul said the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore had issued threats and executed their threats without being arrested.

He commended Ortom and the State House of Assembly for the passage and signing of the Anti-Open Grazing Law 2017.

According to him, ranching is the best panacea to the incessant crises between herdsmen and farmers.

 

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