Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, has criticised Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari over his inability to reign in on Fulani herdsmen constituting security threat in the country.
Ortom who spoke at a press conference in Makurdi, the state capital on Wednesday, reminded Buhari that he is the president of Nigeria, not president of his Fulani ethnic group.
He also berated the presidency for calling for the arrest of popular Yoruba rights activist, Sunday Adeyemo, who issued a quit notice to herdsmen accused of abductions, rape, destruction of farms, and others in the Ibarapa area of Oyo and enforced same.
Ortom pointed out that the presidency kept mum when herdsmen kill and maim Nigerians but was swift to order the arrest of persons who resisted the criminal activities of the killer herdsmen.
The governor recalled that when he raised alarm over the activities of Fulani herdsmen in Benue, he was castigated, but today, the menace has spread to the entire country.
“When I spoke, I was castigated, I was being vilified, nothing bad that was not said against me, I am this and that but the reality is here and it is not just happening in Benue State today, it is happening in the entire country,” he said.
“Why is the Federal Government being silent about these Fulani herdsmen? When will Federal Government come out and criticise and arrest herdsmen carrying AK-47? When are they going to do that? Are we second (-class) citizens in this country? Why (is) the Fulani men superior to a Tiv man? I am not their slave, a Benue man is not slave to any Fulani man in this country.
“We stand for justice, equity and fairness. Whatever is happening to a Fulani man should also happen to a Tiv man. That was why I called the Federal Government to licence me and many others to have guns, to have AK-47 too. Because if I have my AK-47 and a Fulani man is coming there, he knows that I have and he has, then we can fight each other.
“But you can’t disarm me and arm a Fulani man. This is not right, the Federal Government is biased, it is unfair. The failure in security is caused by Federal Government.”
Ortom said perhaps the lieutenants of the President were not feeding him with accurate information on happenings in the country.
He said, “Mr President, in case you are listening to me, I want you to know that your people, Nigerians, you promised Nigerians that you will be fair to all. You said that you will be for everybody and for nobody, and now it will appear that you are for Fulani people because nothing is coming from you to give the people confidence that you are their President.
“You are the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, you are not the President of Fulani. You are the President of everybody and I owe you a duty as a stakeholder in this nation to let you know that what is going on is wrong and this has the potential of dividing this country which will not be in the interest of anyone –some of us believe in the unity of this country.
“Mr President, if some people are deceiving you that all is well, it is not well with us in Benue State and what I can hear from other states, it is not well with Nigeria today, you must act fast before it is late.”