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Ortom Seeks New Security Team for Protection


Benue State Governor, Dr. Samuel Ortom, sought an overhaul of his security details during his Wednesday’s meeting with the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Adamu, THISDAY learnt yesterday.

Ortom, at the meeting, had submitted a petition to Adamu, urging him to investigate the attack on him last Saturday.
Gunmen, suspected to be herdsmen, had shot at the governor and his entourage while returning from his farm in the outskirts of Makurdi, the state capital.

A group, which identified itself as Fulani Nationality Movement (FUNAM), had in a statement, claimed responsibility for the attack.
Ortom met the IG on Wednesday to formally present a petition on the attack.

He had on Tuesday met President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa.
THISDAY gathered that during the meeting with Adamu, Ortom requested that his security details be overhauled.
It was learnt that the security of the governor had become a source of serious concern in view of the rampaging attacks by herdsmen in the state.

Investigation revealed that the governor was under pressure by prominent leaders in the state to overhaul his security following concern that the security operatives in his convoy might be the source of information to his attackers.

A security source told THISDAY that the latest attack on the governor was not the first time his convoy was targeted.
The source said: “The governor has been a target of some people for some time. One group boldly claimed they missed him narrowly.

“Concerned people of the state think he should call for fresh hands around him because somebody close might be giving his attackers information about his movement.

“How did they know in the first attempt that he was in a place near his village? In this second attack, how did the attackers know that he was on his farm and that he was leaving?

“Sometimes, for security reasons, a governor’s movement is not always known but these people knew every of his movement.
“This is the issue in Benue. The people want the security around the governor changed and they also want tight security. It will be a big shame if a governor is killed and there are security agents around him.”

When asked if the governor discussed the issue of overhauling his security arrangement with the IG, Force Public Relations Officer, Mr. Frank Mba, a Commissioner of Police, denied knowledge of such discussion between the duo.

“I am not aware of that. Our position has been made in the press statement we issued on the matter,” Mba added.
Following the attack, the IG had ordered a full-scale investigation into the incident.
He also ordered the deployment of a team of specialised investigators from the Force Criminal Investigations Department (FCID), Abuja in Benue State to support the Benue State Police Command.

A police source told THISDAY yesterday that the team departed Abuja yesterday.
The IG had ordered the Deputy Inspector-General of Police in charge of the Force Intelligence Bureau (FIB), Tijani Baba, to expedite action on the investigation.

Benue State has had a history of attempts on the lives of its chief executives.
On March 3, 2004, the then Governor George Akume escaped death by a whisker following an attack on his convoy by bandits near Nasarawa-Eggon in Nasarawa State on his way to Kaduna to attend a meeting of the governors of the 19 northern states.

His friend and former Managing Director of Nigeria Airways, Mr. Andrew Agom, who sat beside him in his official Toyota Land Cruiser Jeep, was hit by bullets and died on the spot.

Akume’s successor, Senator Gabriel Suswam, was also attacked on March 10, 2014, by suspected herdsmen.
The attackers exchanged gunfire with his security details at Tee-Akanyi village in Guma Local Government Area of the state.

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