New Telegraph

Benue Killings: Ortom fires back at Buhari, says President complicit in attacks

Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, yesterday, fired back at President Muhammadu Buhari over killings in the state, blaming him for being complicit in the Fulani herdsmen’s massacre, attacks and maiming of innocent people of the state. Ortom who was reacting to reports where the Presidency accused him of being behind the worsening insecurity in the state, accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) government of President Buhari of failing woefully in securing Nigeria, and Benue State in particular, since inception of his administration.

The governor, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Nathaniel Ikyur, described the outburst by the presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, “a reckless stab by agents of genocide against the Benue people by blaming the victims.” He said: “It is common knowledge that as the Commander- in-Chief, 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. “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. “What the Buhari administration has done to our people through the Fulani militants as confirmed by Shehu Garba is to spit on the graves of our compatriots mowed down needlessly by Fulani militia.

“Besides unleashing Fulani killers on our people, the Buhari government denied Benue State any meaningful project in the last eight years, including the repair of Federal Government roads in the state, which are now death traps. “For the avoidance of doubt, Ortom was elected in 2015 and re-elected in 2019 to defend the interest of the people of Benue and never to be a lackey in the hands of expansionists using every means to perpetrate evil against the Benue citizens.” The governor said by virtue of the outbursts of the presidential spokesman, it was clear that the presidency was “complicit in the killings orchestrated against Benue people by the Fulani herdsmen as represented by Miyetti Allah Kautal, Fulani Nationality Movement (FUNAM) and other Fulani socio-cultural groups. “If the Presidency can find it convenient to lay the blame of the massive killings that the Fulani have continued to perpetrate in Benue on Governor Ortom, what can it say of the massacre and kidnappings in Plateau, Southern Kaduna, Niger, Sokoto and President Buharis home state of Katsina, among other states where the killing of innocent citizens has continued unchallenged? “It is an insult on Benue people, including those killed and butchered children, the maimed, raped and abused women and the over 2 million people living under squalid conditions in Nigeria’s largest Internally Displaced Persons camps in the state.” Alluding to his loss at the senatorial election which the Presidency said was a demonstration of his rejection by people of the state; Ortom said that before the elections he had publicly stated that he was ready to sacrifice his senatorial ambition for the sake of the survival of democracy. He maintained that it is public knowledge that the 2023 elections were heavily rigged adding that he has been a target of the Buhari administration since 2017 when he boldly signed a law banning open grazing of livestock in the state. Ortom regretted that while other states were given infrastructural loans, Benue under him was denied access to the funds: “The same thing happened when the state government met all requirements to secure N42 billion to clear the backlog of salaries, pensions and gratuity

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