Samuel Ortom, Governor of Benue State, has hit back at the Presidency over its response to the killings in his state, noting that its statement shows its supports the actions of killer herdsmen.
Governor Ortom said this in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase, on Friday.
Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, had in a statement on Thursday noted that President Buhari is disappointed that Governor Ortom would blame him for the killings of Benue residents by suspected Fulani herdsmen.
But Governor Ortom insisted that the statement by Shehu showed the tacit support of the Presidency for the killer herders.
He insisted he was not wrong to call out the President to address the nation, convene a national security summit and declare a state of emergency on security, following the killings taking place in Benue and other states of the federation.
The statement read: “Many other Nigerians of good conscience have at different times made similar calls. What the governor, therefore, deserves is commendation and not condemnation.
“If Garba Shehu claims that the President is disappointed in the Benue State governor for speaking against the sustained attacks on his people, we wonder how he feels about the killings in the North-East, North-West, South-East, South-West and other parts of the North Central. Are those killings occurring as a result of the comments of governors of the affected states?
“It is shocking that Shehu would make a statement regarding an attack evidently carried out by Fulani herdsmen and there won’t be a single sentence of reproach directed at the violent Fulani herders. Such a deliberate omission smacks of complicity and tacit support for the killer herders.”
The statement noted that Shehu was aware Ortom had on several occasions raised the alarm over the activities of the rampaging herdsmen, whose sole aim “is to take over the ancestral lands of Benue people and other Nigerians”.
“The Federal Government has repeatedly ignored such patriotic calls, insisting rather that cattle routes of the 1950s be reopened to grant easy passage to the pastoralists and their animals. The posture of the Federal Government has made many Nigerians to conclude that it is complicit and its inaction has emboldened the armed herdsmen to cause greater havoc across the country.
“The President is Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. The job of a governor is to support security agencies to perform their duties, and this Governor Ortom has done efficiently to the admiration of many Nigerians.
“When President Buhari gave a shoot-on-sight order to security agencies against persons bearing AK-47, Governor Ortom was one of the first to support the presidential directive. The Minister of Defence came out a few weeks later to counter the President’s order and we expected a reaction from the Presidency but till this minute, no such reaction has been heard.
“What Garba Shehu ought to know is that Governor Ortom has no personal grudge against the President. The Governor is only being patriotic by calling for justice, equity, fairness and above all the rule of law. He expects the President to be the leader of every Nigerian and treat all as his people,” the statement read in parts,” the statement read.