Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, yesterday, claimed the repeated attacks and killings in the state by suspected Fulani militia had the full backing and endorsement of President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government.
Ortom who accused the presidency of placing cows above human lives, alleged the Buhari-administration was after him because of the anti-grazing law in the state.
He stated this in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Nathaniel Ikyur, while reacting to an earlier statement by the president’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu accusing him of politicizing security in Benue while his kinsmen bury their dead.
“The Presidency has shown in this recent public statement that they have placed cows above human lives and made the animals to urinate on the graves of those they massacred in Benue and elsewhere across the country. If not, they wouldn’t have gone to town to mock the slain in their graves. It is an insult on Benue people including those killed and butchered children, the maimed, raped and abused women and the over two million people living under squalid conditions in Nigeria’s largest Internally Displaced Camps in the state.The Presidency’s statement is a reckless stab by agents of genocide against the Benue people by blaming the victims.”
Ortom said Garba’s statement was a clear indictment on Buhari as Commander-in-Chief of Nigeria’s Armed Forces for abdicating his constitutional duty of providing security to Benue State and other parts of the country and blaming him a state governor, who had no control over the country’s security agencies.
He said it was common knowledge that as the Commander-in-Chief, Buhari has failed woefully in securing Nigeria, and Benue state in particular even as he has empowered and emboldened Fulani pastoralists in their expansionist agenda, including the killings of innocent persons across the country.
He claimed that besides unleashing Fulani killers on Benue people, the Buhari government had denied Benue State any meaningful project in the last eight years, including the repair of Federal Government roads in the state, which have been turned into death traps.
Part of the statement read: “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 terrorists Fulani groups too. It shows how much he and others in that league have misled the government and Nigerian people in the last inglorious eight years.”
“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.
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. We shall not forget these atrocities. For the avoidance of doubt, Governor Samuel 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. By Garba Shehu’s latest statement, the presidency has clearly demonstrated that Governor Ortom is right when he consistently accused the APC-led federal government of complicity 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 Buhari’s home state of Katsina among other states where the killing of innocent citizens has continued unchallenged?…
“Let Garba Shehu and occupants of the current Presidential Villa be informed that the ongoing pogrom in Benue State is a designed plot by the Fulani against the Benue people to dispossess them of their lands and these atrocities are well documented. The perpetrators are also well known to local and international authorities. By this recent posturing, everyone is now aware that the perpetrators have the backing and sympathy of the Federal Government.
“The Presidency’s attempt to mock Governor Ortom over the loss of his senatorial seat and the PDP in the Governorship has furthermore strengthened our belief that the massive deployment of security personnel for the elections in the state was planned and hatched in the presidential villa and supervised by agents of the APC.”