Ortom interview with Channels: MBF berates presidency for refusing to speak on issues raised by governor
Posted by News Express | 29 August 2021 | 356 times
•Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom
The Middle Belt Forum (MBF) has taken the presidency and its spokesman, Garba Shehu to the cleaner over their response to the interview granted to Channels Television by the governor of Benue State, Samuel Orton.
Recall that Ortom had during the interview with the Channels television frowned at plan to fulanise the country and also the position of President Muhammadu Buhari on the open grazing and his approved recommendations of a committee to review 368 grazing sites, across 25 states in the country, “to determine the levels of encroachment,” among others.
Reacting to the response by the presidential spokesman, Mr. Garba Shehu, the MBF said it finds it incompressible and strange on why Mr. Shehu refused to speak on issues raised by the governor but resorted to accusing Governor Ortom of attempting to incite genocidal attacks against the Fulani.
Kicking against plot to declare state of emergency on Benue state, MBF, in a statement by its President, Dr. Pogu Bitrus, said that it is irrefutable that while the Benue State Governor came out speaking truth to those living in self-denial, it is either the presidential spokesman is incapable of comprehending the content of the interview or he was simply being mischievous or both.
The group said that Ortom made no pretense over the real problems confronting Nigeria, adding that the governor is a man, who is not afraid to speak when it matters the most.
“True to his character, the Governor has never left anyone in doubt as to his position on national issues, especially on matters relating to matters of insecurity and the urgency required in tackling the myriad of tragedies ripping across Nigeria caused by killer herdsmen. Unlike some state chief executives that would prefer to remain silent in the face of existential threats, Governor Ortom has always identified with his people.
“In our democracy that is fraught with subdued silence for fear of higher political forces, Governor Ortom remains a symbol of hope for a nation whose democratic leaders have remained impotent in speaking out against unprovoked murders and premeditated decimation of communities in the country, especially in the Middle Belt Region.
“We reject in totality Mr. Shehu’s unfounded accusations that Ortom’s interview is capable of inciting genocidal attacks against the Fulani. With the record of being a friend to many Fulfulde-speaking people, Dr Ortom has never borne any form of hatred towards anyone on account of their ethnic and religious identity.
“Contrary to insinuations from certain quarters that are promoted by some ill-informed presidency officials like Shehu, the Governor is known to have employed Fulani to work in his ranch just as some of his best friends are Fulani, with their friendship spanning over decades.
“As the Governor rightly declared when he celebrated his birthday in April 2021, he has never hated any Fulani man who is in love with peace, but he has consistently opposed killer herdsmen that are mostly from foreign countries who destroy communities and turn the country into killing fields. When Mr. Shehu described Governor Ortom as an instigator of genocidal attacks; he was simply attempting to give a dog a bad name in order to hang it,” MBF said.
The group said that it is not unaware of plans to instigate an unmitigated crisis in Benue State with the sole intent of forcing the Federal Government to declare a State of Emergency on the State, adding, “we are totally opposed to such a planned move that is being orchestrated by some deceitful and wicked elements in order to throw Benue State into a state of unprecedented violence.
“The MBF hereby warns those behind the reprehensible plot to desist from carrying out such dastardly machinations as the Forum is fully identified with the patriotic zeal of Governor Ortom whose commendable strides have given hope to not only the state citizens but other Nigerians living in the darkest period of our country’s history.
“The presidency must protect the rights of Nigerians to express divergent opinions as necessary ingredients for the deepening of our democracy. The planned review of grazing reserves and routes as directed by President Muhammadu is a violation of the Land Use Act that exclusively gives governors the right to hold lands in trust for state citizens.”
The MBF said that President Buhari must be told that his actions and inactions are the major instigators of genocidal killings, adding, “the government should rise and deal with demons of terror decimating our communities and unleashing coldblooded murders on our innocent citizens. President Buhari should recall his attack dogs from the trenches and halt the hate-filled propaganda targeted at Governor Ortom.
“The embarrassing silence and discriminatory disposition by the Federal Government over the intentional obliteration of our communities and massive massacre of our people must be brought to an end. The Buhari-led government must stop its discrimination in the manner it reacts to terror attacks on other groups and take swift actions against perpetrators.
“Governor is not an instigator of violence, but a patriot who can’t keep silent in the face of glaring multiple injustices and destruction of communities. He ought to be praised for what he stands for and not to be vilified by a biased presidential spokesman that is living in self-denial.” (Sunday Independent)