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2023 Elections In Jeopardy Over Insecurity, Govs Ortom, Akeredolu Warn Buhari

 The Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has said that if the insecurity challenges in the country persist, the 2023 elections will not hold.


Governor Ortom stated this on Tuesday when he visited President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.


The governor who arrived at the Villa unaccompanied met with the President over issues of insecurity in the country.


He thanked the President for condemning the attack on his farm but said: “that there will be no 2023 elections in Nigeria if insecurity persists”.


Briefing journalists after meeting with the President, Governor Ortom disclosed that the nation is sitting on a keg of gun powder without meaningful progress being made on the issue of security.


Speaking on the protection of the constitution, Ortom appealed for the provisions of the constitution to be protected to enable equity, fairness, and justice in the country.


He criticized the issue of impunity in the country which he said has been allowed to fester, thereby urging the Federal Government to immediately prosecute anyone found culpable of breaching the law.

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom


On the question of reports alleging that attacks on his convoy was a pseudo claim, the Governor explicitly appealed to everyone not to politicize the issue of attempted assassination on his person.


He made the emphasis that the attack on his convoy by about 15 gunmen suspected to be herdsmen, while on a visit to his farm was not stage-managed.


While asserting that he has not done anything wrong in enacting an anti-open grazing law beneficial to the state, he said the demand by the cattle breeders association, Miyetti Allah to repel the law would be impossible to fulfill, because it went through due process, hence the matter is clearly beyond him.


He prayed that what happened to him would not be experienced by anyone else.


The governor commended other governors, colleagues for standing by him during the attack.


Gunmen Attack

Gunmen suspected to be herdsmen last Saturday attacked Governor Ortom at Tyo Mu along Makurdi/Gboko road in Makurdi Local Government Area of the state.


Ortom, who described the gunmen as ‘herdsmen’, said about 15 of the attackers trailed him to the river bank where he was on foot.


The governor praised his security details that were just about six in number for responding quickly to the attack and repelled them promptly before providing cover for him to return to safety and his vehicle.


“My lawyer is going to make a petition against the leadership of MACBAN because they came out to target me and behind the scene, they are planning to eliminate me on my own land,” he said.


“If I can’t go to the farm as governor with entire security around me then who else can go to the farm? You can imagine the pains that we have here in Benue State.


“I appreciate the security personnel attached to me they were able to repel them and they could not have access to me,” Ortom stated.


In a related development, the Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, has asked the Federal Government to tackle the deteriorating insecurity in the country.


Speaking during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Tuesday, Akeredolu warned that the 2023 general elections might be threatened if the insecurity situation worsens.


He also condemned Saturday’s attack on his colleague from Benue State, Samuel Ortom, wondering why governors would be the target of attack.


While describing the attack as unfortunate, Akeredolu who is also the Chairman of South-West Governors Forum, thanked God for the life of Governor Ortom.


Following the attack on Benue governor, Ortom visited President Buhari today in Abuja, warning that elections might be disrupted in 2023 if nothing is done to nip insecurity in the bud.


Governor Akeredolu also backed Ortom’s remarks, noting that Nigerians should be worried if banditry activities reach its full-scale.


“I think he is right, definitely we cannot conduct election under an insecure environment. So if insecurity is not nipped in the bud, it will escalate and if it escalates, all of us should be worried that as at the time we are getting to 2023, we might have a full-scale banditry and other insecurity in the country,” he said.


“With that, there is nobody that can carry out any election under that atmosphere. What is clear is that he has made a good point that the Federal Government must sit up.


“Something just has to be done now to ensure that this issue of insecurity that is escalating by the day is now nipped in the bud and deescalated as soon as possible.”


Time For State Police

Regarding the myriads of security challenges ranging from banditry to terrorism, kidnapping for ransom to cultism, militancy and agitations to secede among several others, Governor Akeredolu renewed his earlier call for the creation of state police.


He believes that the setting up of the policy structure at regional levels would complement the efforts of the Nigeria Police Force.


The governor being a senior lawyer and ex-President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) however admitted that the outfit is not something that can come to force immediately.



File photo of President Muhammadu Buhari and Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu.

He added, “There must be a swift response to all this level of insecurity. For now, since there is nothing else to do, those of us who believe that there should be multi-level policing and the time has come for us to have state police, it is not something you can force down.


“It is something that will have to go through the National Assembly. It takes some time but that is the goal. But before then, I believe that we can have meetings, set up committees on insecurity. Let it be addressed wholesomely without any bias.”


Nigeria has been experiencing a series of security threats ranging from terrorism, banditry, militancy, cultism among others in several parts of the country.


The country has been battling terrorism for more than a decade which has killed 36,000 people and displaced hundreds of thousands in the northeast.


The Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP) split from the jihadist group Boko Haram in 2016 and has since become a dominant threat in Nigeria, attacking troops and bases while killing and kidnapping passengers at bogus checkpoints.


On March 1, jihadist fighters burnt down a United Nations humanitarian compound in the town of Dikwa after dislodging troops, killing six civilians.


Nigeria’s jihadist violence has spread to neighbouring Chad, Cameroon and Niger, prompting a regional military coalition to fight the insurgents.



ovu: Wednesday, 24 March 2021 at 3/24/2021 11:54:00 am

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