THREE kinsmen of Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state were Saturday evening reportedly killed by suspected armed herdsmen while returning from a burial ceremony along Iordye- Gbajimba road in Guma Local Government Area of the state.
This came as the Governor Sunday afternoon raised the alarm that armed herdsmen have taken over communities in his home town making it impossible for him to access his village and his massive farms in the community.
It was gathered that the victims, two males and a female were riding on a motorcycle when they were ambushed by the marauders who shot two of them and hacked the third person to death with a machete.
According to the source, the remains of the victims had been recovered and deposited at the Gbajimba General Hospital by troops of Operation Whirl Stroke, OPWS, attached to the LGA.
Meanwhile, while raising the alarm over the latest killings in the state by armed herders, Governor Ortom lamented the cold-blooded murder of his mourning kinsmen recalling how his community was sacked and over 30 of his kinsmen were killed by the marauders when he was a serving Minister saying it went to show how heartless the marauders were.
The Governor who spoke during a thanksgiving service organized Sunday for him and the Benue Branch Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Rev. Akpen Leva at the NKST Church Iortyer, Makurdi, decried the perceived support the invaders were enjoying from the federal government.
He said, “it is not acceptable that Fulanis from Niger, Senegal, Mali, and several other countries would be allowed to come into our country and continue to kill our people to take over our land and the Federal Government is looking the other way and they want me to keep quiet.
“They even went as far as wanting me to take money and keep quiet. I cannot sell my people for all the money in the world. If others are doing that, Samuel Ortom will not. So they should forget it.
“That goes to tell you that this Federal Government is evil. Most of our frontline Local Government Areas are not safe. These people come and kill our people and none of them is arrested. And they want me to keep quiet, I will not.
“I will not engage in illegality but I must say that we are getting to a level that we will be left with no other option but to defend ourselves and our families. And I want to call on the Federal Government to give us permission to carry AK47 rifles to defend ourselves against these killers who go about with AK47 rifles sacking our villages and communities and killing our loved ones.
“We have not committed any crime in Benue state, everything I do is in line with the directives of the people. They asked for the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law and that is what we did. That law can only be rescinded the day the people ask me to do so.
“I will continue to stand for the truth even if it will cost me my life I am prepared. I was told that they have made seven attempts on my life already. The people they sent confessed after the seventh attempt failed. They must realize that my life is not in the hands of anyone.”
The Governor who urged the youths of the state to stand up and support security agencies to protect the state from the marauders assured the people that he would not do anything that would betray their trust.
He said his administration had ensured the provision of infrastructure across the state and never failed to pay workers monthly as well as ensured the release of N700m monthly for pensions stressing his administration would not fail on its social contract with the people despite the plots of the enemies.