Insecurity: Tearful Ortom, Reps, call for emergency

The House of  Representatives, and a tearful governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom yesterday called on the Federal Government to urgently declare a state of emergency on security in the country.

The House and Governor Ortom’s calls came against the backdrop of killing of no fewer than seven Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, in an attack on the Abagena IDPs camp located on the outskirts of Makurdi, the Benue State capital, in the early hours of yesterday by suspected armed herdsmen militia.

Buhari had also on Monday night met behind closed doors with Borno State governor, Professor Babagana Zulum, National Leader of All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and the pioneer interim national chairman of the party, Chief Bisi Akande, at the State House over the security situation in the country, with the governor declaring he was in Aso Rock to tell the President the truth on the situation in his state.

This is even as President Buhari emerged from a virtual meeting with the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, yesterday, asking the international community to support Nigeria and the sub-region in tackling growing security challenges to avoid spillovers.

This, he added, they could do by relocating AFRICOM Headquarters to Africa to coordinate security in West Africa.

Declare emergency on security now, Reps tell Buhari

Piqued by the daily killings and kidnappings of Nigerians across the country, the House of Representatives yesterday called on President Buhari to declare a state of emergency on security.

The House held a three-hour executive session, from where the lawmakers unanimously adopted a series of resolutions.

Emerging from the meeting, the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, read out the resolutions, parts of which the House condemned the attacks on security personnel and formations around the country and sympathised with families of victims.

The House reiterated its commitment in ensuring that the country is secure, while announcing its resolve to organise a special security summit, and invite the National Security Adviser, Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno, retd.; service chiefs, heads of paramilitary agencies and NIGCOMSAT. The House also resolved:

“The President should immediately declare emergency on security sector.”

It also called on the judiciary to accelerate trials of suspected terrorists, bandits and other criminals.

While asking all security committees to immediately audit arms and ammunition of security agencies within four weeks, the House stated that the number of personnel in the Police and military fell far short of what is required to effectively secure the country, and called for an immediate recruitment of security operatives.

 ‘Attack on Benue IDPs camp took place at 2am’

gathered that the  unprovoked attack on the IDP camp with over 21,000 IDPs, which took place at about 2am yesterday and  left nine of the traumatized IDPs with serious injuries, compelled Governor Samuel Ortom who could not hold back tears as he addressed angry Benue youths, to call on President Buhari to declare an emergency on the security situation in the country.

The youths had made bonfires on the Makurdi-Lafia road, laying the corpses of the dead on the highway, and threatening to carry out reprisal attacks.

The governor also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to live up to his responsibility of protecting Nigerians, describing the attack as inhuman, barbaric and unacceptable.

Ortom, who called for urgent action against the activities of militia herdsmen across the country, said if the Federal Government had taken the issue of militia herders seriously, it wouldn’t have escalated to this level.

He lamented that in the last two weeks, over 70 persons had been killed in Makurdi, Guma and Gwer West Local Government Areas, LGAs, while various communities across Benue were suffering from same militia herdsmen.

More than 70 killed in 2 weeks — Ortom

The governor said: “From what is happening, within the last two weeks, we have lost more than 70 people within the local governments of Makurdi, Guma, and Gwer West alone, in addition to what you are seeing here today.

“Many are in the hospital apart from the seven that died in the attack on the IDPs camp by these herdsmen militia.

“I want to say that we are being overstretched. Our patience and preaching of rule of law is being overstretched. You can see that the people are fed up. Mr. President must rise.

“He is the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the President of the over 250 ethnic nationalities in Nigeria. They voted him, we all voted him.

“Mr. President, you took an oath of office to secure the lives and property of the people. This is unacceptable, this cannot continue. Mr. President cannot continue to be aloof. Mr. President must rise to address the nation himself, not his aides.

“Mr. President must tell us where we are headed in this country. This is too much. We are being overstretched and this is not acceptable. The body language, the action and inaction of Mr. President shows that he is only the President of Fulani people.

“I have warned over this. I have written to him and I have written to security agencies that Miyetti Allah anchored a meeting in Yola and threatened that unless we repeal the open grazing prohibition law, nobody would know peace. That they will kill, they will maim, they will rape and do all sorts of things and they have started doing it. And it is amazing that we are becoming a banana republic.

“If we have a President and Mr. President gives order to security agencies to shoot on sight whosoever is having AK-47, and then the Minister of Defence came out to say that you cannot shoot on sight, that those people should be prosecuted, then I ask, who is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces?

“So this kind of game, these lies, these falsehoods that are being played out is not acceptable. It is better for me not to be alive to see this kind of shame of leadership. What is going on? Nigerians, my colleagues the governors must arise and impress on the president to call a security summit, if possible ensure that a state of emergency is declared on security so that all hands will be on deck to address this matter.

“From what is happening now, it is very clear that Mr. President is just working for these Fulanis to take over this country. His body language is what is being played out; Mr President gives orders, another person, a minister comes and counters. Is it not a shame?

Source: Vanguard News

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