BENUE — The governor of Benue state escapes an assassination attempt on Saturday after gunmen suspected to be herdsmen attacked his convoy.
Samuel Ortom, 59, who was a Minister of State Trade and Investments in Nigeria during the presidency of Goodluck Jonathan, was said to have been attacked at Tyo Mu along Makurdi-Gboko road while on a visit to a farm.
The Nigerian politician and businessman, who narrated the incident to reporters, described the gunmen as “herders”.
He said the armed men, numbering about 15, trailed his convoy to the river bank where he was on foot with his security details to inspect a farm and opened fire on them.
Ortom praised his security details “who were just about six” for responding quickly to the attackers and repelling the armed men promptly before providing cover for him to return to safety.
The governor added that troops of operation whirl stroke, the police, and operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS), have mobilised to the forest between Tyo Mu and Abinse where the armed herdsmen are thought to be camped.
He also called for the arrest and prosecution of the leadership of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore.
In reaction to a comment made by Bala Mohammed, governor of Bauchi, that herdsmen have no option but to carry AK-47 to protect themselves, Ortom had warned all herders in the state to respect the laws prohibiting the carrying of unlicensed arms.
“Anyone who is not willing to respect the laws of our land should go and meet Bala Mohammed, and there you can carry AK-47, and you’ll not be apprehended. Here, when you come, we’ll apprehend you. I want this to be known,” he had said.
Following a backlash, Mohammed cautioned herders against carrying an AK-47 rifles, saying his earlier statement was a figurative allusion.
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