2021:Funam takes responsibility for attempted assassination of Gov Ortom

Last Saturday, Governor Ortom of Benue State was attacked by a group he described as armed assassins and had to run 1.5 kilometres to save his life. I am glad he was able to outrun the assassins although I did wonder why his close protection squad allowed him run into the dangerous forests over such a long distance rather than keep him protected in his bullet proof vehicle while they dealt with the attackers. Shortly after the attack, a press release was allegedly issued by the Fulani Nationality Movement (FUNAM) claiming they carried out the attack on behalf of millions of Fulani people in 15 countries. The statement added:


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“It’s a case of vengeance against an infidel who has used his time and money, deployed in destroying the Fulani values and inheritance…

“Our intention is unequivocal: TO KILL HIM. That mission will one day be fulfilled and very soon too.” Signed – Umar Amir Shehu

I have seen such statements so many times without any evidence that such a group exists outside the computers of conflict manufacturers fabricating dangerous narratives. I recall that during the first week of January 2018, a crisis erupted in Benue State resulting in the death of dozens of people as herders and farmers clashed. Concerned with the grave dangers the events and the passions it generated posed for national safety and cohesion, the Nigerian Bar Association decided to send a fact-finding mission to the state to investigate and seek to intervene and I was invited to join as an expert adviser. The crisis followed the passage and implementation of the Benue State Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law 2017.

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