Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, has slammed Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State over his comments on the killings in the country.
Defending his principal, he stated that President Muhammadu Buhari has no connection with the killing of innocent Nigerians by criminals.
“President Buhari does not kill people; he is not a cultist,” said the President’s media aide who was a guest on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Wednesday.
A day before Shehu’s interview, Governor Ortom had criticised the present administration and described President Buhari as the worst when it comes to handling security matters.
Governor Ortom, who also featured as a guest on Sunrise Daily on Tuesday, condemned the way in which some critical issues were being managed.
On the attacks by suspected herdsmen, the governor alleged that the President had an agenda to ‘fulanise’ the country.
He added that late former Presidents Shehu Shagari and Umar Yar’Adua, as Nigerian leaders of Fulani extraction, were better than President Buhari in terms of security.
But Shehu, in his response, dismissed all the claims by the governor. Rather, he described the President as one who is compassionate, just, and fair to all.
He believes the tolerance the President has shown towards the purported excesses of the governor is evidence of his description of the Nigerian leader.
The President’s spokesman also criticised Governor Ortom for his comments on the purported agenda to ‘fulanise’ the country.
“All of the falsehoods he (Ortom) spreads, perhaps speak to his own character rather than that of the President,” he said. “The President’s wish is that open grazing should end, nobody wants it.
“The President has shown extraordinary patience stomaching a lot of the garbage that Governor Ortom has been pouring about him. I am not sure that in the history of this country, there had been any president who would have taken all of the insults that Governor Ortom has been heaping on this President, and on the President’s directive, we have ignored him.”
Before the interview in the evening, Shehu had issued a statement in reaction to the claims by the governor.
Read the statement below:
Statement Concerning Samuel Ortom, The Governor Of Benue State
Governor Samuel Ortom has few political principles. We can see this from the fact that he has changed political parties five times during his undistinguished career.
Every time he feels the wind may be blowing in a certain direction, he follows it.
Unfortunately, for the good citizens of Benue State, the most dangerous direction he blows in today is that of sectarianism and ethnicity.
In an attempt to boost his sinking political fortunes, Ortom takes the cheapest and lowest route possible by playing on ethnic themes – and in doing so knowingly causes deaths of innocent Nigerians by inciting farmers against herders, and Christians against Muslims.
Specifically, Ortom stirs up hatred by targeting one single ethnic group in Nigeria – using language reminiscent of the Rwandan genocide.
As was the case in Rwanda where the then Hutu leaders of the country incited their countrymen against each other, claiming there was a “secret Tutsi agenda” over the Hutu, Ortom claims there is a “secret Fulanisation agenda” over other ethnic groups in his state and in Nigeria. This is a copy of the language of Hutu Power – which falsely, and intentionally, accused the Rwandan Tutsi of plans to dominate the country.
This wicked talk is aimed at giving cover to his so-called “policy” on the Ranches Establishment Law – which in reality is purely an act of denial of the law – intended to withhold rights and freedoms from one ethnic group alone, whilst inciting race hatred against them amongst all others.
These are not the actions of a man who should be trusted with running public services or holding public office.
For the governor of a major state in Nigeria to be politically driven by ethnic hatred is a stain on our country.
The good, and fair-minded people of Benue State deserve more than this, and we look forward to the next elections when they have an opportunity to restore its greatness.
Senior Special Assistant to the President
(Media & Publicity)
August 25, 2021