Samuel Ortom, Bala Mohammed

OBINNA EZUGWU

Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom of Benue State has expressed disappointment over comments 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.

Ortom said while he will not want to join issues with the Bauchi State Governor, he finds it shocking that a governor who took the oath of office 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.

The governor in a statement through his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase, noted that it was shocking that Governor Mohammed defended herdsmen for bearing arms, quoting him as saying “they have no option than to carry AK47 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,” the statement said.

“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.”

The Benue governor noted further that in reference to Governor Mohammed’s comment that there are Benue people who are freely doing business in Bauchi and elsewhere, that Benue indigenes in Bauchi have been law-abiding and do not carry arms to attack their hosts.

He noted 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 said his administration had not driven away any law-abiding Nigerian in Benue State.

According to Akase: “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.”