The Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has been knocked by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, over his alleged attempt to politicize the killings in the state.
The Benue State governor had blamed the federal government for the insecurity and alleged killings by the Fulani Herdsmen, in Benue state.
However, the presidency in a Press Release signed by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, knocked Ortom, mocking him that he has been “rejected” by the people of Benue State.
In the Press Release, Sheu alleged that the governor does not listen to advice and he had ignored numerous intelligence reports released to him for action but all he did was blame the Fulani herders for the insecurity challenges in the state.
According to Sheu, no wonder the state governor-elect, Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia, who has his work cut out, described Benue as being in the Intensive Care Unit.
Describing Ortom as a stubborn man, who proudly rejects advice at will, he concluded that “Instead, Ortom stubbornly refused to engage with the detailed, holistic approach out by the Federal Government. He arrogantly chose his own, destructive path.
“He blamed the Fulani for every problem that arose. He ignored numerous intelligence reports passed to him for action. He rejected police findings in investigations that didn’t meet his egotistical worldview. He politicized every life lost on his watch.
The full statement reads:
STATE HOUSE PRESS RELEASE
PRESIDENT BUHARI’S BENUE RECORD SPEAKS FOR ITSELF. LET THE PEOPLE OF BENUE SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES TOO
“In a series of apparently syndicated editorials, this country’s newspapers – the Daily Trust and ThisDay – have attempted to lay the blame of the dire security situation in Benue State entirely at the feet of the outgoing president. As for the man who has presided over Benue State for the past eight years, its outgoing governor Samuel Ortom, the editors of those publications, in their nearly identical articles, elected to give him a free pass.
“Fortunately, the people of Benue State know the truth. After all, it is they who have suffered under Ortom’s “leadership” – if one can call it such. It is they who have experienced first-hand the mass killings, the torture, and the litany of atrocities as Benue’s security situation plummeted even further. It is they who buried their loved ones while watching their careless, irresponsible, and incompetent governorpoliticizee those freshly dug graves.
“And it is they who turned to the last privilege they had left: their democratic privilege, to resoundingly kick out Ortom and his so-called People’s Democratic Party in favor of a new governor, Reverend Father Hyacinth Iornem Alia from Buhari’s party, the APC.
“But since the Daily Trust and ThisDay may not be as well informed as their Benue compatriots, this blatant rewriting of history must be addressed. For their education, we humbly submit a list – far from exhaustive – of the steps taken personally by President Buhari to address the deteriorating situation in Benue. These were, in many cases, roundly ignored – if not outright obstructed – by former Governor Ortom:
“i. Several in-person meetings with the Governor of Benue State and other community leaders, assuring them of the Federal Government’s commitment to protecting farmers and communities.
“ii. The establishment and funding of Joint Security Operations, code-named Operation Whirl Stroke (OWS). To date, the OWS Team remains in place. Several OWS security agents have given their lives protecting the people of Benue. Many were endangered further by Ortom’s fake news and disinformation campaigns, and his unwillingness to engage with the project.
“iii. The deployment of special security forces to flash-points in the State including the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Air Force, Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Police Force, Department of State Services, and other security agencies.
“iv. The deployment of an array of NAF fighter aircraft, Mi-35 helicopter gunships as well as Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance platforms.
“v. The Deployment of Ten (10) Units of the Police Mobile Force, Ten (10) Units of Police Special Forces (Tactical Operation Units), and Aerial Surveillance Teams (Police Helicopters).
“vi. The Acquisition and deployment of modern military armaments.
“vii. The provision of timely and actionable intelligence to Ortom (which was routinely ignored).
“viii. The prompt provision of humanitarian support to victims via the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development.
“Despite these efforts, we know that the new Governor, Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia, has his work cut out. In his own words, he is inheriting a State that is in the Intensive Care Unit. Perhaps if disgraced Governor Ortom had been more concerned with doing his job than politicizing the tragedies so frequently taking place under his watch, the situation in Benue might be very different, like in any of its neighbors – Taraba, Nasarawa, the FCT – which all enjoy peace.
“Instead, Ortom stubbornly refused to engage with the detailed, holistic approach spelled out by the Federal Government. He arrogantly chose his own, destructive path. He blamed the Fulani for every problem that arose. He ignored numerous intelligence reports passed to him for action. He rejected police findings in investigations that didn’t meet his egotistical worldview. He politicized every life lost on his watch.
“So, thank God the people of Benue rejected him so roundly at elections. His contract was not renewed. He failed a Senate election. Even the person he endorsed for Governorship was rejected.
“They know better than anyone else the true reasons for the situation in Benue. If anyone is looking for someone to blame, just ask the people of Benue.”
Senior Special Assistant to the President
(Media & Publicity).”