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“This is a war; return & defend your land” – Gov. Suswam tells Tiv people after becoming 3rd governor attacked in a month

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“This is a war; return & defend your land” – Gov. Suswam tells Tiv people after becoming 3rd governor attacked in a month

by Segun Odeleye

In the last one month, three attacks or close shaves have been reported which will no doubt concern Nigerian power brokers and politicians, especially as it directly affects them.

First, was two weeks ago, when suspected Boko Haram terrorists made an attempt on the convoy of Adamawa governor, Murtala Nyako. Then less than a week ago, there was an alleged attack on the Enugu Government House which was successfully repelled by security agents. The police blames MASSOB for the attack but the group has denied it and there are reports that it could have been staged.

The last attempt on a governor occurred only yesterday in Benue when the convoy of Gov. Gabriel Suswam was attacked by suspected Fulani herdsmen.

READ: Chilling Experience: Fear Of Boko Haram Reportedly Forces Gov. Nyako And Aides To Flee And Abort Trips

READ: 1 Dead, 3 Injured, As Early Morning Armed Attack On Enugu Govt. House Is Foiled

Benue state has been on the edge in recent weeks following clashes between Tiv locals and Fulani herdsmen. Several people have lost their lives. It was while Gov. Suswam was was on his way to Gbajimba in  Guma Local Government Area of the state on a fact finding mission over the continuous invasion of the community, that the incident occurred.

According to reports, for about an hour, there was exchange of gunfire  between  the bandits and Suswam’s security aides.

The governor has confirmed the incident. After warding off the attackers, the governor went with his journey and visited Gbajimba where he stated that the situation was disturbing. In a surprising twist, he called on the people to protect themselves and defend their land since the security operatives are failing to do their jobs.

The governor said, “I salute each and every one of you for your courage and steadfastness throughout this period. This is beyond the herdsmen; this is  a real war. On my way to this place, they exchanged gunfire with us for over one hour before we were able to get  here.

“My people are being   butchered and their homes destroyed. So, if the security agents, especially the military, cannot provide security for us,  we will  have to defend ourselves.

“I cannot abandon you people at this point in time to die. You voted me to provide security for you and that I must do  for you.

“These Fulani are not like the real Fulanis we used to know.  Please return to your homes and defend your land. Do not allow anybody to make you slaves in your home land. ’’

Also speaking, the chairman of Guma LGA, Mr. Frank Adi, condemned the   killings by the herdsmen. Represented by his deputy, Mr Godwin Viashima, he appealed to the government to provide them with security operatives.

Meanwhile, the Director of Press to Gov. Suswam, Dr. Cletus Akwaya, has given more insight into the attack. According to him, Gov. Suswam “went to the crisis area to look at the level of destruction when he was attacked.”

He said schools in the area have been closed down since the crisis started in  2011.

“The marauders sacked the villages and some of the schools are now being occupied by their  cows. They sacked villages in Gwer, Guma-West. Some  bodies  were  recovered from some of these areas without bullet wounds.

“There are suspicions that the marauders may have used chemical weapons.  They may be people who moved from Libya to Mali  and they are here now.

“What they are doing in the North-East is what they are trying   to bring to the North-Central states of Benue, Plateau and Nassarawa  . It is not what the state government alone can handle.”

He, however, said there was no casualty among members of the governor’s convoy.

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