Heed TY Danjuma’s advice, Ortom tells Nigerians
By Chesa Chesa
Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State, one of the flashpoints of killings by cattle herders, has urged Nigerians to heed the advice of former Defence Minister, General Theophilus Danjuma, who at the weekend tasked Nigerians to protect themselves from rampaging armed bandits as the military could no longer be trusted to do it alone.
Ortom threw his weight behind the retired general during a chat with State House correspondents shortly after he emerged from a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari over the killings in the state.
The governor cautioned Nigerians against misunderstanding or misrepresenting what Danjuma said as he never called non citizens to take up arms and start killing each other, but to observe the first law of nature, which is self preservation even if without guns or machetes.
According to Ortom: “He (Danjuma) did not tell anybody to take up arms. He only said that people should protect themselves. Of course, you know that self preservation is the first law of nature. You cana��t just wait in your house and allow someone to come and kill you. You can resist the person, but you dona��t necessarily need to have arms. I think that that was what the minister was saying.
“There is need for people to arise to defend themselves, not necessarily using weapons that are banned. You can use a stick and disarm someone. Some years ago, I was able to disarm armed robbers (who had seven AK 47 rifles) without anything. I think that is the kind of thing he is trying to say. Nigerians should rise up to do this.
“Security matters are not just left in the hands of security men, it requires every one of us to put our heads together and be courageous to be able to surmount it.”
Nonetheless, the Benue State governor said he did not regard himself as estranged from the Federal Government in the face of recent events although he accepted to have seriously disagreed with heads of security agencies.
“We have always been meeting and I have said very positive things about this government before and I have not retracted what I said. The fact is that I have a challenge at hand and needed to stay with my people to be able to surmount this because. They are the people that elected me, and Benue people first before any other thing.
“I have not had any strained relationship with the federal government. I had strained relationship with security agencies heads, not even with security agencies and that was the point I was making.
“But all I was saying is trying to add value to the security of the nation by bringing my suggestions as a former local government chairman, former minister and now a serving governor. I think I have something to add to the security architecture of this country that can add value and help us to do better than we are doing.
“Nobody has monopoly of knowledge. We must synergize, we must cooporate with one another and so, when you neglect this, and you have tragedy like the one you have in Benue State, it is not good enough”, he stated.
Ortom said he was at the Villa to thank Buhari for his recent condolence visit to Benue, to remind him of the requests made by the people then, including the desire of over 175,000 displaced persons to return to their abodes with government assistance, and to appraise him of security developments so far.
“That assurance (return of refugees) has been given and he will also look at the other issues that we brought before him. It is quite assuring that it will be well and I want to thank the President for the support he has shown”, the governor said.
He also reiterated his position that cattle ranching remained the best option the circumstances to stop the wanton violence and loss of human lives because “that remains the global best practice and Nigeria cannot be an exception, especially when the land is decreasing and the population is increasing.
We must adopt global best practices and modern ways of animal husbandary, this will go a long way in helping us. And I think that for us in Benue, we are winning because even Miyetti Allah and MACABAN, have accepted that truly, ranching remains the best option.
“And we commend them and we will work with them to see how our law will can ware human face to ensure that we have a win-win for all. And you will recall that the issue of cattle rustling is very major problem to the cattle rearers in Nigeria.”
On what has changed in Benue since the Presidenta��s visit, Ortom said there are some killings in flash points by these militia groups, the security men are doing their best, and a number of arrests have been made by the security agencies.
“It is still going on, even yesterday, there were killings but the security men are doing their best. I believe that we will overcome this. If not for the presence of the security men in our land, the situation would have really worsened than what it is today.”

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