You Spat On Herdsmen’s Victims’ Rraves, Ortom Replies Buhari

Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has accused the Presidency of spitting on the graves of victims of armed herdsmen attacks in the state after “President Muhammadu Buhari failed woefully to secure Nigerians and Benue people in particular from the pastoralists’ expansionist agenda.”

Governor Ortom in a statement on Thursday by his Chief Press Secretary, Nathaniel Ikyur, was reacting to Wednesday’s statement by a presidential spokesman, Mallam Garba Shehu, captioned, “President Buhari’s Benue record speaks for itself, let the people of Benue speak for themselves too”.

The Presidency’s statement, among others, blamed the Benue governor for the killings in the state and also mocked his outing in the last elections.


According to Shehu, “Fortunately, the people of Benue State know the truth. After all, it is they who have suffered under Ortom’s “leadership” — if one can call it such.

“It is they who have experienced first-hand the mass killings, the torture, the litany of atrocities as Benue’s security situation plummeted ever further.

“It is they who buried their loved ones while watching their careless, irresponsible and incompetent governor politicise on those freshly dug graves.

“And it is they who turned to the last privilege they had left: their democratic privilege, to resoundingly kick out Ortom and his so-called People’s Democratic Party, PDP, in favour of a new governor, Reverend Father Hyacinth Iornem Alia from Buhari’s party, the APC.”

Ortom kicks

Reacting to the statement, Governor Ortom maintained that “Shehu Garba’s infantile statement on the security situation in Benue State has once again confirmed our position that the killings; mass murder in Benue by the Fulani militia has 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 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.

“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.

“What the Buhari administration has done to our people through the Fulani militants as confirmed by Shehu Garba is to spit on the graves of our compatriots mowed down needlessly.

“We shall not forget these atrocities.

“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.

“For the avoidance of doubt, Governor Samuel Ortom was elected in 2015 and re-elected in 2019 to defend the interest of the people of Benue and never to be a lackey in the hands of expansionists using every means to perpetrate evil against the Benue 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?

“The Presidency has shown in this recent public statement that they have placed cows above human lives and made the animals to 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.

“Benue people are well aware that Governor Ortom has been a target of the Buhari presidency since 2017 when he boldly signed a law banning open grazing of livestock in the state.

“The governor has been subjected to many coordinated media attacks, probes, freezing of state accounts and other punitive measures to frustrate and cripple his administration.

“While other states were given infrastructural loans, Benue under Governor Ortom was denied access to the funds.

“The same thing happened when the Benue State Government met all requirements to secure N42 billion to clear the backlog of salaries, pensions and gratuity.

“The Presidency’s statement is the height of recklessness and gross insensitivity against the people of Benue.”


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