Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has described the ongoing killings by Fulani herdsmen in the state as a continuation of 1804 jihad by Uthman Danfodio, alleging that the Fulani are angry because the initial jihad led by Danfodio was halted in Benue and prevented from proceeding to the sea.
The governor who bared his mind in an interview with an online TV programme, The Osasu Show, in Makurdi, the state capital, alleged that the statements issued by Miyetti Allah were emanating from the seat of power in Abuja, just as he insisted that there would not be electioneering campaigns in Benue ahead of 2019 until the people of the state get justice.
He disclosed that he invited President Muhammadu Buhari to Benue to condole with the people of the state but the president turned down the invitation.
“For now, my primary concern is to stop these killings; to ensure that the IDPs go back to their homes and live peacefully. Once that is done, we can talk about other things. I don’t care about what happens tomorrow.
“Even if I am not governor, I can stay back and fight for the right of my people. When we visited, we even invited the President to come to Benue State and pay his condolences to his people. We are members of the party (All Progressives Congress, APC,), he is our President. If these people are attacking us, we expect him to give us security.
“He has done a number of things. He directed NEMA to provide relief materials; he also asked for security to be beefed up, but I am not satisfied with what the Presidency is doing on this matter. There is no doubt about that. I ask for justice for Benue people because we have not been treated fairly.”
Alleging that the attacks on Benue was an act of vengeance by herders for losing the 1804 Jihad, he said: “These people have gone beyond grazing, it is about invading the land and taking over. All the places they have attacked, they have chased the people away and they are using their farmlands’ produce as feed for their cattle.
“They are conducting international conferences, issuing press releases and writing on social media and they have come out to say look, in 1804 Jihad, it was Benue people that stopped them from penetrating from Sokoto to the sea.
“This time around, they are not going to stop. They will make sure that they mobilise all Fulani men across the globe, especially from the West African sub-region to ensure that they acquire arms and come and invade and take over the land.
“Because they also said Nigeria is the only land that God has given them, so no other person will supervene on this land except them; that it is their own land, they got this land by conquest and we have no business staying on this land. It is unbelievable.
“The statement is coming from Miyetti Allah. Well, I wouldn’t know about their patrons or the extent of their involvement. But one thing I know is that the people that have been issuing these press statements are known. They are living in Abuja, they are living with the powers-that-be,”
Speaking on why he has not met with the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar III, and Emir of Kano, Lamido Sanusi, to call the herders to order, they governor said it was the responsibility of the Federal Government to enforce the law.
“Why will I sit down with them? We have constituted authority over this country. And it is the responsibility of the Federal Government to enforce the law. We expected them to have acted,”