BEVERLY HILLS, April 30, (THEWILL) – The Presidency has fired back at Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State after he called out President Buhari blaming him for recent killings in the State.
Recall that Ortom had on Tuesday accused Buhari of working for the Fulani ethnic stock to take over Nigeria.
The governor, who spoke in reaction to the recent killing of residents allegedly perpetrated by herdsmen in parts of the North-Central state, also lamented that no fewer than 70 people have been killed in the last two weeks in three local governments in the state.
But President Buhari in a statement issued on Thursday by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said the lives of fellow citizens should not be desecrated by deploying them in political diatribe which appeared to be the intent of the emotional attacks on the President by Ortom.
President Buhari expressed disappointment and sadness to hear Samuel Ortom make a litany of accusations against his person and his government of following the recent unfortunate incidents in the state.
While he expressed his condolences to the families of the dead, Buhari called for further collaboration by the states with security agencies to curb the recurring violence.
“No responsible government takes pleasure in such events as the killing of the military and that of innocent citizens taking refuge in an Internally Displaced People’s camp.
“He is deeply pained by the terrible acts of violence happening not only in Benue State but also in other parts of the country and expects that the law enforcement agencies will go to every possible extent to catch the perpetrators of these heinous acts and bring them to justice”, he said.
The President said he took an oath to defend the life and property of every citizen, a duty he takes seriously and is committed to ensuring.
“Those citizens regardless of their affiliations, who either incite, sponsor or are proven to be abettors of these atrocities will face the law squarely and be answerable for their crimes against our fellow citizens and nation”, he said
President Buhari further emphasised that the strength of our country lies in our diversity in faith, culture, and traditions, adding that attempts to sharpen the divide between northern and southern Nigeria, between Muslims and Christians, and between communities that have coexisted for centuries should be frowned upon and resisted.
“As Nigerians, we accuse colonial rulers of the policy of divide and rule. Today, it is our own leaders who put region against region, religion against religion, ethnic group against ethnic group and community against community.
“The future of Benue State and indeed that of the entire country lies in harmony and the respect for law, order, and the constitution. It is the only way to achieve progress and development”, he said.
Buhari said while he will continue to keep security, police and the armed forces on their toes to be on top of their act in troubled parts of the country, the situation in the states will greatly be helped by everyone working together because that is the foundation on which progress and prosperity can be achieved.
“Benue under the Ortom administration ought to cooperate with the Federal Government in the implementation of a number of national strategies programs in addressing underlying issues militating against peace, progress and development.
“This can still get done when the interest of the people is placed above all other interests. A government voted into office by the people, should treat the people as its masters and not as its servants”, he added.