The war of words between Governor of Bauchi State, Bala Mohammed, and his Benue counterpart, Samuel Ortom, will not go away in a hurry as Mohammed has challenged Ortom to prove that he (Mohammed) is a terrorist and is planning to kill him (Ortom).
Ortom had, in a press conference in Makurdi on Monday, accused Mohammed of being one of the “terrorists terrorising Nigeria” following Mohamned’s comments that Fulani herdsmen carry AK-47 rifles to protect themselves from attacks by cattle rustlers.
Ortom further alleged that he had received a death threat letter from the herdsmen and that Mohammed should be held responsible if he was murdered.
However, Mohammed has called on Ortom to prove his allegations that he is a terrorist and planning to eliminate him, challenging Ortom to substantiate his claims that he was in cahoots with anybody to kill him.
The main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) under which the two governors belong had recently made a statement that it had intervened in the war of words between both men and had called on them to stop the attacks.
However, Gov Mohammed in a statement on Wednesday through his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Mukhtar Gidado, said though he had restrained himself from joining issues with Ortom, “it would be irresponsible of him to ignore the two unfortunate claims.”
The statement reads:
“In our resolve to deescalate the tension that has gripped the country over the sacking of Fulani herdsmen from Ondo State, we had resolved not to join issues with any other person over the position of His Excellency, Governor Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed, CON, on the issue.
“However, while standing on that resolve, it will be irresponsible of us to ignore two unfortunate claims made by the Benue State Governor, Dr. Samuel Ortom, at a press conference last Monday.
“During the conference, Governor Ortom alleged, among other things, that:
“Governor Bala Mohammed is a terrorist, sponsoring those he described as Fulani terrorist herdsmen.
“And he, Governor Ortom, had received a letter from Fulani herdsmen to the effect that they were going to kill him (Governor Ortom) and that Governor Bala Mohammed should be held responsible if he (Governor Ortom) dies
“We are therefore shocked that Governor Ortom could, in good conscience, address a fellow Governor whom he had described as a brother, as a terrorist and who should, to wit, be placed under watch should anything untoward happen to him (Ortom).
“We want to state that Governor Ortom has carried the unfortunate theatrics, for which he is well known, to a very precipitous level of brinkmanship.
“As a journalist and democrat, Governor Bala Mohammed, concedes to Governor Ortom the right to reply.
“However, through his unfounded and grave allegations, the Benue State Governor has over-personalised the matter, thereby reducing the debate to a level of toxicity that is neither healthy for the country nor helpful to the People’s Democratic Party, PDP.
“One of the main attractions of democracy is the freedom of speech which we relish very much in this country.
“That is why anybody can rise and make any allegation as they choose. However, as the legal dictum goes, he who alleges must prove.
“So, if Governor Ortom is not playing to the gallery, we challenge him to substantiate his claim that Governor Bala Mohammed is in cahoots with anybody to kill the Benue State Governor.”
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