Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom describes 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.
While Governor Ortom will not want to join issues with the Bauchi State Governor, 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.
Ortom, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary Terver Akase on Friday, points out that 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 AK-47 because the society and the government are not protecting them”.
Governor Ortom wonders which section of the law the Bauchi State Governor cited to support herdsmen’s free movement around the country with sophisticated weapons.
He recalls that 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.
Governor Ortom wonders if his friend and colleague in Bauchi State knows a thing or two about the horrendous activities of herders in parts of the country to warrant the emotional defence and justification that he has repeatedly put forward in their favour.
In reference to Governor Bala Mohammed’s comment that there are Benue people who are freely doing business in Bauchi and elsewhere, Governor Ortom states 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.
Governor Ortom says his administration has not driven away any law abiding Nigerian in Benue State.
The Governor finds it 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 stresses the need for leaders to be cautious and retrace their steps which are capable of leading the country to anarchy.