Benue Governor, Samuel Ortom has denied allegations levelled against him by the presidency, stating he is responsible for the crisis and hardship experienced in the state.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary Terver Akase said it is President Buhari and not Ortom that is fueling Fulani herders killings, attacks and maiming of innocent people of the state.
Reacting to a media report where a presidential spokesperson, Mallam Shehu Garba accused Governor Ortom of being behind the killings in Benue state, noted that the statement from Garba has confirmed Ortom’s outbursts that the federal government under President Muhammadu Buhari has been the one sponsoring mass murder of Benue people by Fulani herders.
"The Presidency has shown in this recent public statement that they have placed cows above human lives and made the animals 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.
"Shehu Garba’s infantile statement on the security situation in Benue State has once again confirmed our position that the killings; mass murders in Benue by the Fulani militia have 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.
"Indeed, the Presidential spokesman's futile attempts to twist events and history in Benue State is unfortunate and reprehensible. It shows how much he and others in that league have misled the government and Nigerian people in the last inglorious eight years.
"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."
Speaking further, Akase stated: "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.
"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.
"We have tried in vain to find out the offence of Benue people, but we found none, except that our people are responsible, law-abiding 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 dispose of their lands and these atrocities are well documented.
"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.
"We are tempted to conclude that President Buhari was not aware of Garba Shehu’s statement, because if the President were aware, he would not have permitted his media aide to release a statement that rather indicts him 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, admitting failure and opting to blame a state Governor."
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