In February, Mr. Ortom had accused Bauchi’s Governor Bala Mohammed of plotting to kill him in cahoots with Fulani herders. Mr. Ortom said Mr. Mohammed should be held accountable if anything happens to him. He also accused Mr. Mohammed of being part of a “terrorist Fulani organization, terrorizing Nigerians.”
He said, “And if anything happens to me, I don’t want anybody to be in doubt, Bala Mohammed should be held responsible. Especially his last week outing what he said and what herdsmen wrote to me that they are going to assassinate me, Bala Mohammed is also part of it with what he said;
He added, “I am beginning to think that my brother, the governor of Bauchi, is part of the terrorist Fulani organization that is terrorizing this country.”
According to a statement by the president’s media aide, Garba Shehu, brutal attacks on individuals and communities in the state, with the latest one targeting the governor, is unacceptable.
The Sunday statement also noted that Mr. Buhari welcomed the dispatch of ‘special detectives’ to Benue, urging the officers to uncover those behind the attacks and bring them to justice. Similar pronouncements had been made in the past by Mr. Buhari regarding wanton attacks on innocent Nigerians.
Buhari, however, maintained that people should not politicize the attack, claiming that “an attack on one Nigerian is an attack on all Nigerians.”
The statement added, “Let there be open and transparent investigation, and whoever is linked to it should be caught and be made to face the law,” he further directed.
On Saturday, Mr. Ortom said herdsmen attacked him on his farm near Tyo-mu, along Makurdi-Gboko Highway.
He stated this during a press briefing at the Benue Peoples House in Makurdi shortly after the attack that he was inspecting the farm when herders ambushed him and his security personnel, opening heavy fire.
The governor quickly linked the attack to the state’s anti-open grazing policy, saying his government will not repeal a law adopted in 2018 against nomadic grazing because it has been popular amongst residents.
In January, Benue authorities impounded 210 cows from Fulani herders who had violated the state Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law of 2017. They later released the cattle after owner’s reportedly paid N5 million in fines.