By Peters Ichull, Washington DC
Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has called on the American government and the rest of the international community to hold the government of Mohammadu Buhari accountable for the spate of violence in Nigeria. He made the call at the State Department, Washington DC, while interacting with its officials.
Governor Ortom also said President Buhari and his government should be held responsible if anything happens to him, citing the series of threats he has been receiving and the attempt made on his life in March last year as signals that the Presidency and its conspirators are after him. He pointed out that till date, those who attacked him have not been prosecuted.
He stated that he was at the State Department to present the traumatized Nigerian victims’ side of the story after discovering that wrong narratives were being circulated across the globe by the government of Buhari to shield itself from complicity.
The Governor said the false narrative of “herder-farmer clashes” was deliberately crafted to delay farmers’ doomsday until they were gradually wiped out and their ancestral lands confiscated, saying “the truth is that farming populations in Nigeria are under siege and are being decimated; agriculture is gradually dying and food security is being threatened”.
Governor Ortom alerted the international community not to take the insecurity in Nigeria as a distant problem, stressing that the outbreak of war in any country will cause migration problems to America and Britain due to their friendly immigration policies.
He said in the last seven years, the Buhari administration has seen children rendered as orphans, farmers being displaced, schools, hospitals and social services disrupted, without doing anything to restore normalcy, stating that the federal government’s punitive neglect has led to increasing number of internally displaced persons in Benue State which now stands at 1.5 million.
The Governor therefore called on the United States of America and the rest of the international community to take the following steps to end the spate of violence in the country, especially in Benue state:
*Demand accountability from Buhari’s government on the deaths of innocent citizens.
*Appoint a special envoy to Nigeria to deal with the flashpoint of the violence,
*Ensure that international funding of IDPs gets to Benue State, the epicentre of the current violence as well as Plateau, Kaduna, Niger, Zamfara and other states affected by terrorists’ attacks in the country,
*Encourage the establishment of state police in Nigeria.
Responding, the US State Department officials headed by the Under Secretary, Africa and Middle East, Padgett Douglas
said “the US government was aware of random terrorism, weaponization of religion and importation of violence in Nigeria” adding that since the security of the political system was paramount to the US government, it has set up a conflict bureau to fund IDPs in Nigeria, but he would ensure that such funding does not go to the wrong channels, while promising to make a case for the Benue IDPs and investigate other issues raised by Governor Ortom.