Ortom slams defence minister over comment on Benue killings
• Asks Him To Apologise To Nigerians For ‘Dancing On The Victims’ Graves’
Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom has said it is unfortunate that President Muhammadu Buhari is being surrounded by a set of people that could not give him quality advice or proffer solution to the security challenges facing the country.
Ortom, in an interview with journalists yesterday, against the backdrop of comments credited to the Minister of Defence, Gen. Mansur Dan Ali, that the killings in Benue State by Fulani herdsmen were as a result of the law prohibiting open grazing, said it was an “insult to the collective leadership and sensibility” of the people of Benue and Nigeria for a minister of Defence to ask Nigerians to accommodate foreigners who illegally enter the country to cause problems.
He, therefore, demanded an unreserved apology from the minister, stating: “This is provoking. It means the minister is dancing on the grave of innocent people who were murdered, slaughtered by these terrorists in the state on January 1. “I am convinced to say that the people surrounding Buhari are the wrong set of people.“How can a minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria come out to encourage our citizens to do an illegal thing by telling them to accommodate such people.
“As a state, we are ready to accommodate those who are genuine and who come to our state legally, whether foreigners or not, to do business. But if you are in Benue, you must respect the laws of the land,” the governor retorted.Ortom wondered how most of the President’s aides, instead of focusing on their responsibility of protecting lives, are busy bringing issues to divert attention from killings by herdsmen across the country.
He said it was becoming clear in Nigeria today that immunity that was supposed to be the prerogative of the President and state Governors has now been extended to “killer herdsmen” and even “cattle,” making them untouchable, adding: “Cattle in Nigeria now have more immunity than humans. This is very unfortunate.”
Ortom lamented that both civilians and security men were being murdered with reckless abandon, but instead of finding solutions to the problem, the federal government is busy playing politics with it.
“If terrorists that are hired by the herdsmen have gone beyond killing our people to killing security men, it is very sad.“The other day, it was three policemen in Logo. Yesterday, they killed another policeman in Guma. Another one was declared missing, while one was also shot by the herdsmen and is receiving treatment.
“This is a monster that has the capability of consuming the entire country. But the truth is that if security men are becoming victims, we are no longer safe. “I think that is what the minister of Defence should be concerned about, because they are making me believed that he is also part of the conspiracy against Benue State.”
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