The Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, on Thursday, accused the presidency of placing cows above human lives in Nigeria.
Ortom made this statement through his Chief Press Secretary, Nathaniel Ikyur, while reacting to an earlier statement issued by the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.
The presidency, in a statement on Wednesday said that if Governor Ortom had been more concerned with doing his job than politicizing the tragedies so frequently taking place under his watch, the situation in Benue might have been different.
The presidency accused Ortom of stubbornly refusing to engage with the detailed, holistic approach clearly spelt out by the Federal Government and arrogantly chose his own, destructive path.
Shehu said, “Instead, Ortom stubbornly refused to engage with the detailed, holistic approach clearly spelt out by the federal government.
“He arrogantly chose his own destructive path. He blamed the Fulani for every problem that arose. He ignored numerous intelligence reports passed to him for action.
“He rejected police findings into investigations that didn’t meet his egoistical worldview. He politicised every life lost on his watch.”
But Ortom likened the statement of the presidency to making animals urinate in the graves of victims of herdsmen invasion of the state, alleging that the president was indeed responsible for the killings in the state.
He said, “The Presidency has shown in this recent public statement that they have placed cows above human lives and made the animals urinate on the graves of those they massacred in Benue and elsewhere across the country. If not, they wouldn’t have gone to town to mock the slain in their graves.
“It is an insult to Benue people including those killed and butchered children, the maimed, raped and abused women and the over two million people living under squalid conditions in Nigeria’s largest Internally Displaced Camps in the state.
“The Presidency’s statement is a reckless stab by agents of genocide against the Benue people by blaming the victims.
“The perpetrators are also well known to local and international authorities. Through this recent posturing, everyone is now aware that the perpetrators have the backing and sympathy of the Federal Government.
On the mockery of PDP and Ortom’s senatorial seat loss, the outgoing governor said that such mockery now strengthens his belief that the massive deployment of security personnel for the elections in the state was planned and hatched in the presidential villa and supervised by agents of the APC.
Ortom who said he had publicly announced his readiness to sacrifice his senatorial seat for equity and justice however said that ‘the 2023 elections were heavily rigged using some security operatives, money, federal might and electronic means.
”Governor Ortom’s decision not to challenge the result of the Benue North West Senatorial election in court again points to the fact that he is not a selfish and desperate politician.
While describing the presidency’s statement as the ‘height of recklessness and gross insensitivity against the people of Benue’, Ortom said he had always given full cooperation to all layers of security agencies working in the state to help curtail the menace of the Fulani killing squad displacing various communities in the state and other internal security skirmishes.
“Between 2015 and this year, Governor Ortom has constantly held security meetings and gathered intelligence to support security agencies operating in the state.
“He has however consistently pointed out that the security agencies are grossly underfunded and deserve to be better equipped and motivated to tackle insecurity in the country.
“It is therefore laughable when Shehu ignorantly tries to whip up an unfounded lie against the Governor,” the statement read in parts.