Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has described as disappointing, the comments made by his Bauchi State counterpart, Bala Mohammed who blamed him for what he termed ‘negative perception of Fulani herders’ when he spoke on the current security situation in the country.
Governor Ortom in a statement issued on Friday by his spokesman, Terver Akase, said while he will not want to join issues with his counterpart, he finds it shocking that a colleague who took the oath of office as he also did, to protect and preserve the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, now takes the lead in violating provisions of the same constitution by calling for lawlessness.
According to Ortom, the most shocking part of Governor Bala Mohammed’s statement was where he defended herdsmen for bearing arms saying “they have no option than to carry AK47 because the society and the government are not protecting them”.
The Benue governor questioned the section of the law the Bauchi governor cited to support herdsmen’s free movement around the country with sophisticated weapons.
“It was the same Governor Mohammed who once said on national television that a Fulani man is a global citizen and therefore does not need a visa to come to Nigeria and that the forests belong to herdsmen,” Ortom stated as he poked at Bala Mohammed’s political ideology.
Governor Ortom questioned if Mr Mohammed had a good knowledge of the horrendous activities of herders in parts of the country, arguing that if the Bauchi governor had the facts then he would not continue to put up emotional defences and justification in favour of the armed herdsmen.
In reference to Governor Bala Mohammed’s comment that there are Benue people who are freely doing business in Bauchi and elsewhere, Ortom stated that Benue indigenes in Bauchi have been law-abiding and do not carry arms to attack their hosts, noting that Fulani, as well as many other Nigerians residing in Benue who respect laws of the land, also live peacefully with their hosts.
Ortom insisted that his administration has not driven away any law-abiding Nigerian in Benue State.
According to the governor, it is unfortunate that those who are trusted with the people’s mandate and should ordinarily uphold truth and justice have chosen to mislead the country.
He stressed the need for leaders to be cautious and retrace their steps which are capable of leading the country to anarchy.