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‘Address the killing of Nigerians, stinking corruption under your watch,’ Ortom tells Buhari

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The Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, on Thursday asked President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to address issues raised during his last week’s interview with the media instead of attacking him.

The governor was reacting to the criticism that trailed his recent interview with Channels Television from the Presidency via a statement issued by his media aide, Terver Akase.

Ortom had in a chat with Channels TV described as unconstitutional President Buhari’s decision to approve the review of 368 grazing reserves in 25 states in the country.

He also promised to drag the President to court if he pressed ahead with the planned review of the grazing reserves.

The Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President, Garba Shehu, who reacted to the remarks in a statement on Wednesday, accused Ortom of stirring up hatred among the country’s ethnic groups.

He added that the governor had changed political parties five times during his “undistinguished” career.

But Ortom challenged the presidency to address the issues he raised in the interview.

He asked President Buhari to end the killing of innocent Nigerians, fix the economy and stop the stinking corruption under his watch.

The statement read: “We read the statement released by the Presidency in response to Governor Samuel Ortom’s recent interview on Channels Television in which he raised a number of concerns bordering on the worsening security situation across the country.

“The tone of the said statement shows the quality of the Presidency Nigeria currently has. They abandoned the message and went for the messenger.

READ ALSO: Buhari has hidden agenda to Fulanise Nigeria —Gov Ortom

“To describe as ‘undistinguished’, the career of a man who has held many key positions at the state and national levels proves that those who penned the piece were under the influence of some negative substances.

“For the information of Garba Shehu and his cohorts, Governor Ortom rose to become a Local Government Chairman, State Publicity Secretary of National Centre Party of Nigeria (NCPN); State Treasurer of All People’s Party (APP), State Secretary as well as State Deputy Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), National Auditor of PDP, Minister of the Federal Republic, and now a two-term Governor.

“The Governor spoke the minds of most Nigerians on specific areas of failure of the Presidency and its complicity in the heinous crimes committed against citizens by armed Fulani herdsmen and other terrorists. Instead of taking the Governor on those points, Shehu went chasing vain and mundane matters in a desperate attempt to malign the Governor.

“We demand an apology from the Presidency for accusing Governor Ortom of stirring ethnic tensions and calling for genocide. The Presidency has never hidden its hatred for the Governor and its latest outing only confirms that fact.

“We are aware of the Presidency’s plot to cause crisis in Benue and make the state ungovernable and declare a state of emergency. Whenever each of their plans fails as it happened with the impeachment attempt on the Governor before the 2019 elections, they resort to cheap blackmail.

“They accuse Governor Ortom of making a law to chase Fulanis out of Benue; a claim that lacks substance and only goes to prove that they have not read the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law of the state. They can’t justify their narrative that Governor Ortom hates Fulanis when some of his appointees are Fulani.

“The Presidency must realize that no amount of blackmail and media attack can discourage the Governor from speaking against the injustice and pain the present government has caused Nigerians. No amount of sponsored smear campaigns against the Governor can force him to repeal the law on open grazing of cattle in Benue State.

“We advise the Presidency to focus on ending the killing of innocent Nigerians, fix the economy as it promised and stop the stinking corruption under their watch.

“They can’t run away from their responsibility. They were brought to power to serve the country not to oppress the people and suppress their freedom of speech. They are on record to have publicly promised during their campaigns before the 2015 elections that they would respect the rights and freedoms of Nigerians if elected. Sadly, what the people of this country have got from the current government is the opposite of that promise.”

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