Presidency’s response to criticism shows Fulani bias, Governor Samuel Ortom Insists Buhari Govt is Backing Fulani Herdsmen
On Friday, Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom reaffirmed his position that the Fulani militias terrorising innocent Nigerians have the support of the President.
Ortom was responding to a statement by Mallam Garba Shehu, the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, who said it was shocking that the Presidency expected the governor to remain silent while killer herders attacked his people.
According to Ortom’s Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase, such expectations by Shehu demonstrated the Presidency’s tacit support for the killer herders.
According to him, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd. ), has been summoned to act decisively and impartially to put an end to the spate of Fulani herdsmen killings in Benue and other parts of the country.
Following the killings in Benue and other parts of the federation, Ortom said he saw nothing wrong with the President addressing the nation, convening a national security summit, and declaring a state of emergency on security.
“Many other Nigerians of good conscience have made similar calls at various times,” the governor said. As a result, the governor is deserving of praise rather than blame.
“We wonder how Garba Shehu feels about the killings in the North-East, North-West, South-East, South-West, and other parts of the North Central if the President is disappointed in the Benue State governor for speaking out against the sustained attacks on his people. Are those killings taking place as a result of the governors of the affected states’ comments?
“It’s shocking that Shehu would make a statement about an attack that was clearly carried out by Fulani herders, and not a single sentence of condemnation will be directed at the violent Fulani herders. A deliberate omission like this smacks of collusion and tacit support for the killer herders.”
According to the statement, Shehu was aware that Ortom had raised the alarm on several occasions about the activities of the rampaging herdsmen, whose sole goal is to “take over the ancestral lands of Benue people and other Nigerians.”
The governor had also written letters to the Federal Government and made other strenuous efforts to persuade the government to take preventative measures against future attacks on Benue communities, according to the statement.
“The Federal Government has consistently dismissed such patriotic appeals, preferring instead to reopen cattle routes from the 1950s to allow pastoralists and their animals easy passage. Many Nigerians believe that the Federal Government is complicit, and that its inaction has emboldened the armed herdsmen to cause even more havoc across the country.
“The Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces is the President. A governor’s duty is to assist security agencies in carrying out their responsibilities, which Governor Ortom has done admirably and to the delight of many Nigerians.
“When President Buhari ordered security forces to shoot on sight someone carrying an AK-47, Governor Ortom was one of the first to endorse the presidential directive. A few weeks later, the Minister of Defense spoke out against the President’s order, and we expected a response from the White House, but no such response has been heard as of yet.
“What Garba Shehu should know is that Governor Ortom has no personal animosity against President Obama. By calling for justice, equality, fairness, and, above all, the rule of law, the Governor is simply being patriotic. He expects the President to be the leader of every Nigerian and to treat all Nigerians as his citizens, according to the statement.
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