BENUE youths under the aegis of Benue Youth Forum, BYF, has slammed
President Muhammadu Buhari for allegedly sponsoring groups to vilify
Governor Samuel Ortom who had called on him to sincerely address
security issues in the country.

Recall that Governor Ortom who at several fora exposed the
perpetrators of insecurity in the country and had called for their
arrest and prosecution recently reminded the President that his body
language appears to be an endorsement of the Fulani armed killers, a
the development he said is a disturbing scenario that has made Nigerians
to suspect that the Buhari Presidency is protecting a section of the
country.

But a group known as Friends of President Muhammadu Buhari had
disagreed with the Governor, claiming that the president has been
fair on security matters.

However, BYF in a statement by its president, Terrence Kuanum and made
available to newsmen in Makurdi yesterday, said instead of addressing
the concerns raised by Governor Ortom, the friends of the president
have rather accused the Governor of chasing Fulani herdsmen away from
the state and hat failed to deliver dividends of democracy to his
people.

Kuanum noted that unknown to the Friends of Buhari, Governor Ortom has
done so well for his people, which was why Benue people re-elected him
in 2019 and today Benue has become peaceful while several
developmental projects are ongoing in all corners of the state.

“At the moment, Benue is one of the most peaceful states, courtesy of
the Governor’s efforts.

“The attempt by President Buhari to use groups to divert attention
from the weighty issue at stake is a slap on our collective resolve to
live in a united Nigeria. This country belongs to all of us and it is
our responsibility to point out where the government has got it right
or wrong.

“For the Presidency to hide behind groups to launch attacks on
Governor Ortom instead of addressing the issues he raised is not only
unfortunate but also goes to show how things are fast degenerating in
the country. The Presidency’s option to leave the message and descend
on the messenger also smacks of desperation and paucity of a
convincing response to the Benue Governor’s statesmanly call.

“We expected the Buhari Presidency to publicly acknowledge Governor
Ortom’s input and assure Nigerians that the President is making
genuine efforts to address the security concerns being raised.

“It should be recalled that Governor Ortom exposed the perpetrators of
insecurity in the country and called for their arrest and prosecution.
He also reminded the President that his body language appears to be an
endorsement of the Fulani armed killers, a disturbing scenario that
has made Nigerians suspect that the Buhari Presidency is protecting
a section of the country.

“Only a few days ago, the Northern Governors Forum rose from their
meeting and declared that ranching is the only way out of the current
insecurity which is largely caused by attacks on farming communities
by herdsmen across the country. BMO and the other sponsored attack
groups seem not to have taken cognizance of this reality which is fast
becoming a revolution in Nigeria,” Kuanum said.

On the allegation that Governor Ortom has failed to deliver dividends
of democracy to his people in the past six years, BYF said, “towards
the end of last year, Governor Ortom embarked on the commissioning of
numerous projects which included hundreds of kilometres of roads in
Zones A, B and C parts of the state. Others were school projects,
electricity and primary health centres.

“As Benue youths whose parents and other relations are still in the
service of the state, we can authoritatively state that since January
2018, Governor Ortom has consistently paid civil servants their
salaries and pensioners to have been receiving their entitlements.
The Buhari groups failed to verify sources of their information
regarding payment of wages under the Ortom administration.

“We are not holding brief for the Benue State Government, but the
truth is that despite the huge wage bill Benue has which makes it the
3rd highest salary paying state in the country after Lagos and Rivers,
the Ortom administration deserves commendation in that regard.

“We are well aware that the Federal Government is also borrowing to
pay salaries and pensions. This is a verifiable fact.

“The press outings of the Buhari group are intended to distract
attention from the issue at stake which is that the Commander-in-Chief
of the country’s armed forces and his team have not for once called to
order armed Fulani herders who kill at will, but are quick to move
against other Nigerians for merely expressing their displeasure with
the manner security matters are being handled.

“We urge all stakeholders to rise and insist on Ranching as a lasting
solution to this crisis as highlighted by Governor Samuel Ortom. We
must put sentiments aside so that we can all live in peace and seek
the development of our various communities. No country in the world
which desires development is practising open grazing of animals in
this century.

“Nigerians should note that no form of blackmail can stop Governor
Ortom and the people of Benue State from speaking the truth and making
selfless contributions as long as the poor security situation
persists.

“We equally call on Nigerians to ponder on the constitutional rights
of Governor Samuel Ortom and many other patriotic Nigerians to make
their options heard on issues affecting the country. Such patriots
must not be intimidated into silence!” Kuanum maintained.


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