Samuel Ortom, the outgoing governor of Benue State, has responded to the president over the security situation in the state, saying that President Muhammadu Buhari had approved of the unrelenting killings taking place there.
Additionally, he alleged that the president starved the state of funding and rigged the state’s most recent elections in favour of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Ortom, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who is billed to leave office next month stated this in a statement released on Thursday in Makurdi, the state capital, by his chief press secretary, Nathaniel Ikyur.
On Wednesday, the presidency had cleared Buhari of any responsibility in the deaths in Benue State, claiming that Ortom had politicised the matter.
The president’s media aide, Garba Shehu said, “Perhaps if the disgraced governor had been more concerned with doing his job than politicising the tragedies so frequently taking place under his watch, the situation in Benue might be very different, like in any of its neighbours – Taraba, Nasarawa, the FCT – which all enjoy peace.”
Shehu also mocked Ortom for losing his senatorial bid to represent the Benue North-west district, adding that the Benue electorate “rejected” the outgoing governor and the PDP governorship candidate, Titus Uba, he (Ortom) supported.
In response, Ortom described Shehu’s statement as “infantile,” while blaming the intractable massacres in Benue on Buhari’s “endorsement” of the violent activities of herdsmen.
“Buhari has empowered and emboldened the Fulani pastoralists in their expansionist agenda including killings.
“It is equally a known fact that President Buhari has failed woefully in securing Nigeria, and Benue State in particular,” the statement said, accusing the president of abdicating his statutory duty of securing lives and properties.
According to the governor, “Shehu Garba’s infantile statement on the security situation in Benue State has once again confirmed our position that the killings; mass murder in Benue by the Fulani militia has the full endorsement of the Buhari government. It also goes to confirm that the Presidential spokesman does not only speak for Buhari but for some terrorist Fulani groups too.
“It is on record that Governor Samuel Ortom has repeatedly pleaded with the Buhari government to intervene in the incessant invasion of Benue State by Fulani militias. The President sadly chooses to endorse the invasion and merely asks our people to learn to accommodate their neighbours who derive pleasure in killing and dispossessing them of their ancestral lands”.
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