Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has alleged that the Muhammadu Buhari presidency has failed the integrity test, saying that it should rather accept its failure, apologize to Nigerians and seek help to salvage the situation.
This is contained in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Nathaniel Ikyur in Abuja on Thursday in response to the allegation of lying against the President raised in Wednesday’s statement by Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity.
Recall that the Presidency had accused the governor of lying over his claim that high-ranking security personnel had informed him personally that President Buhari had ordered security forces not to move against the Fulani herdsmen responsible for recent violence.
But in his reply, Ortom called on the administration to redeem its image by rescuing Nigerians from the apron strings of bandits, kidnappers and terrorists who, he said, are having a field day in the country.
“This is the painful reality that handlers of the President don’t want us to talk about,” he stated.
The statement further quoted Ortom as saying: “Each time I speak about the dreadful manner the Muhammadu Buhari administration has handled the security situation in the country, his media aides and hangers-on come out attacking my personality instead of addressing the issues I raised.
“The latest of such attacks by the Presidency came from the garrulous Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media, Garba Shehu, who, rather than tell Nigerians the steps taken by his principal to end the unprecedented bloodshed perpetrated by armed Fulani terrorists, chose to hurl insults on the Governor.
“If the Presidency assumes that I am wrong about my statements regarding the failure of the present government to tackle insecurity, I urge them to hold a referendum to get the feelings of Nigerians towards their ineptitude, complicity and clear lack of commitment and sincerity in protecting the people.
“It is sad and unfortunate that the likes of Garba Shehu have zero sympathies for the families of those being killed daily by Fulani terrorists.”
The government regretted that some of the President’s aides cared less about the country as long as their own meal tickets are secured, alleging that they are also quick to sell their loyalty to the highest bidder
Governor Ortom added: “Shehu blew the opportunity to prove me wrong that I had raised a false alarm about the worsening security situation in the country. Hundreds of our citizens are held captive by terrorists in the forests. I expected Shehu to tell Nigerians what efforts the Federal Government has made to release the hostages.
“Was it a false alarm from me that led to the terrorists’ attack on the convoy of President Buhari in his home state Katsina? Or was it a movie acting when terrorists broke into Kuje Correctional Centre right in the heart of Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory and released their colleagues? It is unfortunate that to date, no officer has been arrested or questioned for the lapses and clear cases of complicity by the security operatives attached to the Kuje facility.
There are reports of over six jailbreaks in the last seven years under the Buhari administration. If that is not a crying shame of failure on the part of the Presidency, we wonder what else qualifies as a failure.
“Everyone is aware how the Buhari administration descends heavily and brutally on other groups like Nnamdi Kanu of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) or Sunday Igboho who have been declared as terrorists with their members arrested and incarcerated but the same government treats Fulani terrorists with kid gloves,” the Governor stated.
Continuing, Ortom said: “Garba Shehu must be reminded that I speak the minds of most Nigerians on specific areas of incompetence or deliberate complicity by the Federal Government in the heinous crimes committed against citizens by armed Fulani herdsmen and other terrorists. Instead of taking me on those points, Shehu went chasing vain and mundane matters in a desperate attempt to malign me which he failed woefully. ”
“If I raised a false alarm, why have the Fulani terrorists who are veiled as herdsmen continued to kidnap and kill Nigerians unchallenged? How many of the terrorists and bandits have been apprehended and prosecuted?
“The Buhari administration cannot extricate itself from complicity regarding the evil visited on citizens of this country. The Presidency has failed the integrity test and should rather accept its failure, apologize to Nigerians and seek help to salvage the situation.”
Ortom wondered whether the presidential aide was not unaware that “other states such as Zamfara, Kaduna, Sokoto and even Katsina where the President comes from are under siege. Is that also my false alarm that has given rise to the killings in other parts of this country?
“In case the likes of Garba Shehu and his likes are not aware, majority of Nigerians wake up to face daily frustrations and live in constant fear of who will be the next victim of terrorists.”
He observed that despite the situation, self-serving individuals “who live under the shield and paraphernalia of the Presidency and have apparently sold their conscience to the devil, want us to pretend that nothing sinister is happening.”
Governor Ortom noted that the Presidency must realize that no amount of blackmail, persecution and media attack can discourage him from speaking against the injustice and pain the present government has caused Nigerians.
He then advised the Presidency to focus on ending the killing of innocent Nigerians, fix the economy as it promised and stop the stinking corruption under their watch.
Following an interview granted by the Benue Governor, the Presidency had on Tuesday warned politicians not to risk further violence at a time the nation is witnessing heightened insecurity but should promote what brings citizens together.
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