Don’t kill ballot box snatchers, governor Ortom warns DSS, military, police

Samuel Ortom

Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has warned the Department of State Service (DSS), the police, military and other security agencies not to kill ballot box snatchers in the forthcoming general elections.

Ortom argued that obeying President Buhari’s directive that security agents should deal ruthlessly with whoever snatched ballot boxes would amount to extra-judicial murder, stressing that it could lead the security agents to prosecution at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Addressing a press conference on Tuesday, in Abuja, the governor said the military and other security agencies must stick to the rules of engagement during the elections, adding that he was not in support of ballot box snatching but that due process must be followed in dealing with those who committed infractions.

“I know that the APC is planning to give soldiers and other security agencies to APC supporters to intimidate others. We are not going to accept this.

“Let it be known to every Nigerian that some of us are prepared to spill our last blood to ensuring that this democracy is sustained for the sake of Nigerians.

“A government that was elected democratically is gradually turning into dictatorship. It is unfortunate for our own President to come out and disregard the provisions of the laws of the land and give orders for extra-judicial killings in the state and torture against innocent Nigerians.

“For me, I did not rig election to become governor. But the truth of the matter is that we have laws. And I expect that Mr. President, who is the chief custodian of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, should protect our constitution and the laws of the land. It is unfortunate that Mr President gave that order.

“I was just reading from the social media the reaction of the military that they are going to obey the directives of Mr President to the latter. It is unfortunate. This cannot stand, this cannot hold.

“I want to advise those who are in the military, police and the other security agencies that they should know that they are also Nigerians. Today, they are serving the public; tomorrow they will not be there. Maybe some of them will become politicians like some of us are.

“It has happened in the past and it will happen again. And I also want to remind them that the day of reckoning will definitely come when they will be alone to give account of their stewardship,” Ortom said.