We have read some media reports claiming that Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom denied that there were killings in the state following attacks on communities by herdsmen.
Such reports which are incorrect do not reflect accurately what Governor Ortom said when he granted a joint interview with the Minister of Interior, Rtd. Lt-General Abdulrahman Dambazau in Abuja last Tuesday.
Governor Ortom was responding to a specific question which quoted an earlier media report that put the figure of those killed in the crisis last week at over 200. He said though the casualty figure was not 200 in a single incident as reported, 22 innocent people had been killed during unprovoked attacks in Ukum and Logo local government areas in the most recent attacks.
The Governor who expressed sadness and sympathy with those who lost loved ones, demanded an end to the unwarranted attacks on Benue people which he said have led to the loss of many lives and displacement of thousands of people, stating that criminal elements were responsible for the lingering crisis.
He said he had briefed President Muhammadu Buhari and also met on different occasions with the Chief of Army Staff, the Minister of Interior, as well as the Inspector-General of Police to find a lasting solution to the security situation in the state.
Governor Ortom reassured the people of the state that he remained committed to the task of ensuring that they were free from attacks of any kind as it is evident in the support his administration has been giving security agencies to enable them perform their duties.
He restated his optimism that the ‘Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Bill’ initiated by his administration when passed by the State House of Assembly could help in ending frequent clahes between herdsmen and farmers.
We therefore urge the people of Benue and other Nigerians to ignore the reports alleging that Governor Ortom denied attacks and killings in the state.
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor