*Hold APC responsible, PDP insists
*Enough of this malady – David Mark
- IGP deploys specialised investigators to Benue
By Williams Orji, Emma Okereh and Myke Uzendu
Palpable anger and condemnation have trailed Saturday’s attack on the Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom.
Prominent among those who made their voices known were the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Northern Governors Forum, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its governors, former Senate President, David Mark and the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) who promised to unmask the attackers, having deployed specialised investigators to track the attackers.
The Governor was attacked at a community called Tyo-Mu, along Makurdi – Gboko road in Makurdi Local Government Area.
The NGF in a statement on Sunday by its chairman and Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, empathised with Ortom, but demanded that no effort should be spared to apprehend those behind the attack.
According to the NGF boss, “the news of the broad daylight attempt to cut short the life of the Governor Ortom, is shocking and a rude awakening.
“All hands must be on deck to uncover the identities of those involved in this heinous crime.
“The NGF wishes to state categorically that the attempt to make Benue State ungovernable is unacceptable and will fail woefully.
“Only recently the brother of one of the former governors of the state was mowed down in cold blood.
“This dishonourable and shameful act of resorting to violence, for whatever reason, to eliminate citizens of Benue state by brutal means must not continue.”
*Security must get to the root of the matter – NGF
Similarly, the Northern Governors Forum according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) asked heads of the nation’s security agencies to get to the root of the matter.
Chairman of the Forum and Governor of Plateau, Simon Lalong, said the incident should be investigated thoroughly.
Lalong said in a statement by his Director of Press and Public Affairs, Dr Makut Macham in Jos, that the attack was another attempt by criminals to cause mayhem in Benue and in the country as a whole.
He tasked all relevant security agencies to conduct a thorough investigation to fish out those behind the attack and their sponsors.
He commended the security details attached to the governor for repelling the attack and securing Ortom and members of his entourage.
NGF further condemned the lingering degeneration of security in the country, insisting that it threats the corporate existence of Nigeria.
Lalong added that governors in the northern part of Nigeria are in solidarity with their colleague and the entire people of Benue state.
*Hold APC responsible if Gov. Ortom is harmed – PDP
On its part, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) alleged that the leadership of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) were behind the assassination attempt on Gov. Ortom.
The party further accused the ruling party of “sponsoring banditry and electoral violence to disrupt democratic order and disintegrate the nation, having realized that it has been rejected and can no longer win elections in the country”.
The party in a statement on Sunday by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said that “the silence of the APC and the Buhari Presidency on the assassination attempt on Benue state governor by bandits, who were reported as killer herdsmen, calls for serious concern.
“This as well as the violence unleased by APC thugs, leading to the killing of two innocent Nigerians and a police officer, in the Ekiti State bye-election at the weekend and the postponement of the election, only goes to show that the APC is all out to derail the nation’s democracy having been rejected by Nigerians.
“Our party holds that such disposition in the face an assassination attempt on a democratically-elected governor by bandits as well as killing of innocent Nigerians and a law enforcement officer by suspected APC thugs, amounts to endorsing acts of violence and assault against our democratic order, sovereignty and corporate existence as a nation.
“It is the belief of our party that such silence on an assassination attempt on Governor Ortom is portentous given that the attack came on the heels of his outspokenness in exposing those allegedly behind the incessant attacks on communities in the state and demanding that the federal government should live up to its responsibility on the protection of life and property in the state.
“Our party urges Nigerians to hold the APC and its leaders responsible for the attack on Governor Ortom as well as call them to question should any harm befall the governor or any member of his family and government,” Ologbondiyan said.
*It’s invitation to anarchy – PDP governors
Similarly, governors elected under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) also known as the PDP Governors Forum (PDPGF) have warned that any further attempt to assassinate or harm any governor or even any Nigerian will be viewed by the Forum as an attempt on all of them.
In a statement on Sunday by its Director-General, Hon. CID Maduabum, the governors expressed shock on the issue and called on the federal government and security to apprehend those responsible.
“We wish therefore to warn that any attempt to harm any Nigerian will be viewed by the Forum as an attempt on all of us.
“We believe strongly that any dispute or perceived dispute should be and must be resolved amicably without resort to violence.
“Nigeria is not a Banana Republic, even though certain retrogressive elements and centrifugal forces are trying to consign Nigeria into a failed state.
“Nobody, or group however highly placed should take the laws into their hands, even though some highly-placed federal government ministers seem to have surrendered to the nefarious activities of miscreants and mischief makers, bent on destabilising the nation.
“Self-help is an invitation to anarchy and must be nipped in the bud,” they warned.
*Nigeria will be buried if Ortom is killed – Wike
Also the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, said the mindless assassination attempt by suspected herdsmen could lead to the disintegration of the country.
Wike said on Sunday: “If you kill Governor Ortom, then be prepared to bury Nigeria. If anything happens to Ortom, the Federal Government will be held responsible and they should be prepared that there will be no more Nigeria.”
Wike recalled how the former General Officer Commanding (GOC) 6 Division of the Nigerian Army in Port-Harcourt, Maj-Gen. Jamil Sarham, and the APC chieftains allegedly concluded a plot to assassinate him during the 2019 general election.
Wike described as disturbing, the growing trend where the lives of incumbent governors were brazenly threatened while the federal government displays non-challant attitude.
*Enough of this malady – David Mark
Also, the former President of the Senate, Sen. David Mark, who is from the state, while reacting to the incident, urged security operatives to step up to the challenges of securing lives and property to avoid the consequences of a resort to self-help.
Mark, in a statement by Paul Mumeh, his Media Adviser on Sunday, said the inability of the government and security agencies to tackle the current security crisis would compel Nigerians to embark on self-help.
According to him, “If a state Governor can be so brazenly attacked, what would they not do to the ordinary citizens?
“Let me state clearly that Benue people are receptive and accommodating. But this should not be misconstrued or mistaken for weakness; enough of this malady.
“That is the situation; we cannot contemplate and must not be allowed to happen because the consequences would be catastrophic.”
On his part Sen. Abba Moro, representing Benue-South Senatorial District, described the attack on Ortom as mindless, provoking and highly unacceptable.
In a statement signed by his Special Assistant, Emmanuel Eche-Ofun John, Moro said: “If the Governor, the Chief Security Officer of the State, is not safe and can be attacked by criminals in broad daylight, what then becomes the fate of the defenceless and unarmed citizens in their villages and on their farms.”
IGP deploys specialised investigators to Benue
On his part, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, has ordered full-scale investigation into the circumstances surrounding the attack and reported attempt on the life of Governor Ortom, at his farm in the outskirts of Makurdi, on Saturday.
The IGP who condemned the incident, according to the Force Public Relations Officer, CP Frank Mba, equally directed the Commissioner of Police (CP), Benue State Command, to take adequate measures towards strengthening and improving security in the state, particularly around the governor.
Mba said that “the IGP has also specifically directed the CP to carry out painstaking investigation into the incident and ensure the arrest and prosecution of persons indicted in the course of the investigations”.
He added that in order to ensure a speedy, thorough and conclusive investigation into the matter, the IGP has ordered the immediate deployment of a team of specialized investigators from the Force Criminal Investigations Department (FCID), Abuja to Benue State to provide additional investigative support to the Benue State Police Command.
While calling for calm, the IGP has assured the people of Benue State and the country at large that the Force will continue to do its best in stabilizing the security situation in the country.
The IGP further reiterates that the Force will continue to work with relevant stakeholders to advance the fight against violent crimes and other criminal activities across the country.