Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom on Friday said that his call on President Muhammad Buhari to act as leader of all Nigerians and tackle the rise in insecurity across the country was borne out of his patriotism.
Governor Ortom was reacting to the statement credited to the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Sheu Garba saying that the president expressed disappointment and sadness for Governor Ortom making a litany of accusations against his person and government.
In a press statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase, on Friday, Ortom said that his clarion call on the President was for him to act decisively and in an unbiased manner to end the spate of killings by Fulani herdsmen in Benue and other parts of the country.
Governor Ortom said he found nothing wrong in his call on the President to address the nation, convene a national security summit and declare a state of emergency on security, following the spate of killings taking place in Benue and the remaining states of the federation?
He noted that several people who were worried by the worsening security situation in the country had called on the President to rise to his responsibilities by declaring a state of emergency on security and convening a summit to address the numerous security challenges bedeviling the nation.
The statement read in parts, “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 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.
“Shehu is aware that Governor Ortom has on several occasions raised alarm against activities of the rampaging herdsmen whose sole aim is to take over the ancestral lands of Benue people and other Nigerians.
“The Governor has written letters to the Federal Government and made other spirited efforts to have the government at the centre take preventive measures against further attacks on Benue communities.
“The Federal Government has repeatedly ignored such patriotic calls, insisting rather that cattle routes of the 1950s be re-opened to grant easy passage to the pastoralists and their animals.
The statement further read that, “The posture of the Federal Government has made many Nigerians 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 AK47, Governor Ortom was one of the first to support the presidential directive. 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.