The Presidency has accused Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State of stirring up hatred by targeting an ethnic group, using language reminiscent of the Rwandan genocide.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said this in a release titled “Statement Concerning Samuel Ortom, the Governor of Benue State”.
Shehu said as was the case in Rwanda where the then Hutu leaders incited their countrymen against each other, claiming there was a “secret Tutsi agenda” over the Hutu, Ortom claimed there was a “secret Fulanization agenda” over other ethnic groups in his state and in Nigeria.
He said the “wicked talk” was 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.
Part of the statement read, “Governor Samuel Ortom has few political principles. We can see this from the fact that he has changed political party 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.
“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.”
Ortom on Tuesday, had flayed the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, describing it as the worst when it comes to handling security matters.
The governor said he was disappointed at the way the president had handled certain critical matters in the country, especially insecurity, while reacting to his open grazing policy.
“Mr President is pushing me to think that what they say about him, that he has a hidden agenda in this country is true,” Ortom said, adding: “because it is very clear that he wants to Fulanise but he is not the first Fulani president.
“Shagari was a Fulani President, Yar’ Adua was a Fulani President and they were the best in the history. But President Buhari is the worst President when it comes to issues of security and keeping his promises.
“Go back to 2015, what did he say, human rights issues, he talked about press freedom, about the economy, corruption, security, tell me one that Mr President has achieved.
“He has achieved some level of development in other sectors but these prominent things that are concerns to Nigerians and we are all worried about.. tell me when Mr President has come out to address them. Is it corruption, we are worse in the history of this country”.