*Says President not aware Shehu spoke on his behalf
*Insists on national security summit, emergency rule on security
Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom Friday said that he bears no personal grudge against President Mohammadu Buhari as misconstrued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Mallam Garba Shehu.
Governor Ortom was reacting to Shehu’s utterances in which he claimed the President had expressed disappointment and sadness over his (Ortom’s) “litany of accusations” against the President and his government following the recent unfortunate incidents of killing in Benue particularly the attacks on the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) at the Abagena camp by armed Fulani militants where seven people were killed and many others injured.
He was optimistic that the President was not aware of his
aide’s outburst and insisted that his call on the President to address the nation, convene a national security summit and declare a state of emergency on security following pockets of killings in Benue and other states of the federation was not out of place.
Ortom, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Terver Akase, was pessimistic “that Mr. President was not aware that his aide Shehu made such a statement on his behalf. It is clear that the media aide didn’t speak for the President in the said statement. President Buhari wouldn’t have given approval for such a reckless and insensitive press release.
“What Garba Shehu ought to know is that Governor Ortom has no personal grudge against the President. The governor is only being patriotic by calling for justice, equity, fairness and above all the rule of law. He expects the President to be the leader of every Nigerian and treat all as his people.
“What is wrong with Governor Ortom’s call on the President to address the nation, convene a national security summit and declare a state of emergency on security, following the spate of killings taking place in Benue and the remaining states of the federation?
“Governor Ortom is not the only one who is worried by the worsening security situation in the country and has called on the President to rise to his responsibilities by declaring a state of emergency on security and convening a summit to address the numerous security challenges bedeviling the nation. Many other Nigerians of good conscience have at different times made similar calls. What the Governor therefore deserves is commendation and not condemnation.
“If Garba Shehu claims that the President is disappointed in the Benue State Governor for speaking against the sustained attacks on his people, we wonder how he feels about the killings in North East, North West, South East, South West and other parts of the North Central. Are those killings occurring as a result of the comments of governors of the affected states?
“It is shocking that Shehu would make a statement regarding an attack evidently carried out by Fulani herdsmen and there won’t be a single sentence of reproach directed at the violent Fulani herders. Such a deliberate omission smacks of complicity and tacit support for the killer herders”.
Governor Ortom reminded Garba Shehu that he had on several occasions raised the alarm against activities of the rampaging herdsmen whose sole aim is to take over the ancestral lands of Benue people and other Nigerians.