The Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has raised the alarm of an alleged plot by militants herdsmen to kidnap, torture and kill him.
Governor Ortom raised the alarm on Friday when he addressed church leaders, traditional rulers and other stakeholders in the state ahead of the 2019 elections.
The forum was organized by the Catholic Diocese of Makurdi.
Ortom said his sin remains the enactment of the grazing law in the state, adding that he got intelligence report that the militant herdsmen were planning to kidnap him along the busy Makurdi-Lafia Road and thereafter torture and kill him.
He said the militant herdsmen behind the plot had already taken over a part of Guma Local Government Area of the state.
He said: “The armed herdsmen, according to the intelligence report, would ensure that all my security aides were killed, after which they would Kidnap me, torture me before killing me.
“Already, l had reported the matter to the police and other security agencies and they are aware of this.
“Therefore, anytime l sleep and wake up and my spirit doesn’t allow me to travel by road, I would call flight operators, but just a few days ago, the Federal Government issued a secular directing that no flight should land in Makurdi airport again.”
Ortom said peaceful elections cannot be guaranteed in 2019 with the spate of killings in the country.
He thus appealed to the Federal Government to urgently end the herdsmen killings in parts of the country to pave the way for peaceful elections in 2019.
He said most of the polling units in the crisis-affected communities of Benue State were destroyed and taken over by herdsmen who converted them to grazing fields.
He said: “The killings across Nigeria is a deliberate attempt by some people either Boko Haram, armed bandits or herdsmen working for the same purpose to disenfranchise large proportion of Nigerians from voting for the leaders of their choice.
“Amnesty international had come out to disclose that over 19,000 people have lost their lives in Benue, Taraba, Kaduna, Nasarawa and Plateau States to herdsmen attacks and this does not speak well of the Nigerian nation, especially as we are heading towards 2019.”
Ortom, who lamented that a large number of Benue State people had become refugees in their own land as a result of ceaseless herdsmen crisis, said pockets of killings were still going on in Makurdi, Guma, Logo and Katsina Ala local government areas of the state despite efforts to stem the tide.
He pointed put that most of Benue State’s frontline border communities with Taraba and Nasarawa States had been taken over by herdsmen who sacked the indigenous people from their ancestral homes.
He said: “This is unacceptable because even though, a goat doesn’t bite, but when you continue to provoke the goat, the goat could turn around and bite you.”