overnor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has said that Fulani herdsmen militia and other Islamic terrorist groups have been collaborating to sustain their attacks on the state and other parts of the country.
Ortom stated this in an interview with Epoch Times TV in Washington, DC, United States of America.
Hosted by Douglas Burton, the governor pointed out that from the information available to him, Boko Haram, ISIS, ISWAP and armed Fulani herdsmen are working for one agenda.
According to him, they are a group of criminals operating under different names.
“They collaborate by providing arms to them and doing the same thing by killing. Just like the Bible says, a thief cometh not only to steal but to kill and to destroy. So, I have seen this collaboration in all these groups, they are doing the same thing,” he said.
Ortom maintained that the enactment of the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law of the state was his administration’s way of finding a solution to the lingering issue.
According to him, the law exposed the agenda of Fulani herdsmen as being beyond grazing cattle.
The governor further dispelled the narrative that a farmer/herder crisis is the cause of the security challenges in Benue State, insisting that attacks and killing of residents by armed invaders have been unprovoked and coordinated.
“Most of the people who are killed and whose homes are destroyed are farmers. The insurgents coming for these jihadists go to attack villagers, not really in the urban areas. So, farmers live in the rural areas to engage in their farming activities.
“I must say that whatever you hear in America here about what is happening in Nigeria, some people have the narrative that it is farmer-herder crisis. It is not so. It is a dummy that has been sold to shield people away from knowing the truth.
“The truth is that you know in America here, in Europe, in Asia and other parts of the world, people go into animal husbandry through ranching.
“I did a study and I confirmed this in several countries with the statistics where more countries have more livestock than Nigeria, yet there are no crises.”
He maintained that in Brazil for instance, “it is on record that they have over 250 million herds of cattle, while in India, it is the same thing with over 200 million herds of cattle. The whole cattle in Nigeria that you hear so much about the farmer-herder crisis are not up to 30 million herds of cattle.”
Although he acknowledged the efforts of the security agencies to curb the attacks, he, however, regretted that such efforts were not enough.
According to him, the security agencies don’t have the manpower to be stationed in the flashpoints to wade off the attackers.
The governor insisted that if the Nigerian Government has no hidden agenda, they should convoke a national security summit where all stakeholders would be given the opportunity to proffer solutions to the security problems.
He also expressed worry that his request to President Muhammadu Buhari to grant approval to procure automatic weapons for the newly established Community Volunteer Guards to enable the state security outfit to match the strength of Fulani herdsmen terrorising it is yet to get a response from the presidency.