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Controversy over Ortom's refusal to inform Buhari about killings in Agatu

Written By Idoma Television on Tuesday, March 13, 2018 | 1:45:00 AM

By Ben Idah

Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom, Monday triggered a slew of controversy after he bluntly failed to inform President Muhammadu Buhari about the carnage caused by suspected herdsmen in Agatu, a local government in Benue South Senatorial district.

Benue South is dominated by Idomas and Igedes.
Ortom, while speaking during President Buhari’s visit to Benue on Monday, chronicled the herdsmen killings in the state since 2011.

However, many persons were shocked that he failed to inform the president how the killer herdsmen turned Agatu to a ghost town.

Ortom had said, “Your Excellency, on January 11, 2018, we buried 73 citizens, including women and children. All of them were brutally slaughtered in their sleep by armed herdsmen in the early hours of the New Year 2018. At least 65 more have been killed in Guma and Logo Local Government Areas after the mass burial. Just a few days ago, 26 of our men, women and children in Okpokwu Local Government Area were killed. Also over 5,000 people were displaced in Mbatoho Community in Makurdi Local Government Area. Attacks by armed herdsmen have continued in various communities in the State leading to the displacement of over 170,000 people. More than 60 percent of this figure are children who have been forced out of school. These and many others now live in the eight Internally Displaced People’s Camps scattered across the State namely: Abagana, Daudu1 and 2, Gbajimba, Tse Ginde, Anyiin, Abeda and Ugba. Their homes and farms have also been destroyed and taken over by armed herdsmen.”

Angered by his incomplete and uninspiring speech, many critics claimed the governor’s refusal to mention Agatu in his speech shows his utter disdain for people of Benue South.

Some persons wondered why the governor deiced to politicize the killings in the state just to score cheap political point.

Popular activist and writer, Fred Ochfe, described the development as shameful.

He wrote, “TIV GOVERNOR! Ortom chronicled the herdsmen killings in Benue in his speech and didnt mention Agatu. Nobody notices.”

On his part, another chieftain of the APC, Comrade Okpokwu Ogenyi said, “I've read through the speech, over and over again, there is no reference to the Agatu massacre.

Andy Kaggwa Obeya on his part said, “The gov has repositioned himself as a Tiv leader (just for sake of sympathy). Okpokwu was inevitable because that's a fresh case. His posture and actions towards other ethnic groups does not in any way reflect him as their governor. Elder Justin, you can't deny this now orvesen.”

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