•Supports Kukah’s nepotism allegation against Buhari
Benue State Governor, Dr. Samuel Ortom, has described as unfortunate, the response of the Presidency to the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Bishop Matttew Kukah’s address to United States Congress Committee on Foreign Affairs regarding the wave of insecurity in the country.
The governor said he stands with Bishop Kukah on the issues he raised and stressed that he would have said similar things if he were to address the same audience. He advised the Federal Government to stop intimidating patriotic Nigerians, who are raising genuine concerns over the worsening security and economic situation in the country.
Ortom maintained that the country is practicing democracy, which has no room for repression and dictatorship, noting that the country’s Constitution guarantees the freedom of speech to all citizens, unlike a military regime, which suppresses the right of the people to voice their opinions on challenges facing their country.
He noted that Bishop Kukah was one Nigerian, who is selfless and speaks his mind frankly on national issues, calling on the government to ensure justice, the rule of law and equity for all. Ortom wondered, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Terver Akase, why the Presidency has chosen to politicize the views of Bishop Kukah, when all the issues he highlighted in his address were facts about the country.
He said Kukah was right when he stated that nepotism has been elevated above federal character by the present administration, and further agreed with the Bishop that Christians across the country are targets of elimination and thousands have already fallen to the sword of jihadist supremacists.
Ortom stated that Kukah was not to blame for the ranking of Nigeria as the 8th least peaceful country in Africa and the rating of killer herdsmen as the 4th deadliest terror group in the world by the Global Terrorism Index.
He said that he expected the Presidency to rather be worried that Nigeria is ranked as the most terrorised nation in Africa with an average of over 2,000 deaths per year on account of terrorism. He emphasized that the combative approach the Presidency has adopted in engaging citizens on issues will not solve the problems confronting the country.
Ortom said that Bishop Kukah was not the first Nigerian to address a foreign audience on the security situation in the country. He recalled that in February 2015, President Buhari was at the time the candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC), when he delivered a speech at Chatham House in London, where he stated that “Boko Haram has sadly put Nigeria on the terrorism map, killing more than 13,000 of our nationals.”
The President went on to announce to the world on that occasion that apart from the civil war era, Nigeria had never been more insecure in the country’s history.
The governor stated that if a man who was seeking to rule the country could reel out such scary statistics, why would his aides now launch media attacks on a clergyman, who is only advocating peace and is drawing the attention of the global community to the plight of helpless Nigerians.