Stop interfering in Benue affairs, Ortom tells Lalong

Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom
Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom

THE crisis between Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom and his counterpart in Plateaus State, Simon Lalong seems to have taken a new dimension as Ortom warned him to stop interfering in Benue affairs.

“Please tell your boss when you see him to stop interfering with affairs in my state, let him mind his business in Plateau and I will mind my own business here,” Ortom tells Lalomg representative in Makurdi.

Governor Ortom gave the warning early hour on Monday at a stakeholders meeting with National Economic Council, NEC, technical committee on herdsman/ farmers crisis resolution led by Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi.

The meeting which commenced Sunday night at the new banquet hall, government house, Makurdi dragged to an early hour on Monday.

The governor in his remarks at the meeting told the audience that his deputy, Benson Abounu had met Lalong at a function outside the state recently where Lalomg said he still stand by his statement,  warning governor Ortom to desist from the anti-open grazing law.

According to Ortom, ‘my deputy told me that he had a discussion with Lalong recently at a function, where he said that he had to apologize to me over his statement because of pressure on him, saying, he stands by his earlier statement.”

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“He also told people that he introduced this Kenya woman in this committee to me, whereas, this woman was introduced to me by Nasir El Rufai, not him.”

“Am the governor here (Benue), how can he say that he warned me, who is he to warn me, he can only advise me.”

It would be recalled that Governor Lalong at the peak of the herdsmen attacks on Benue State told newsmen in Abuja that he warned governor Ortom against the new law.

Chairman, state traditional council, HRM, Professor, James Ayatse who spoke at the meeting raised serious concern about the credibility of the committee since some of its members had taken a position on the crisis.

“I have a concern here, Governors of Plateau and Kaduna states; Lalong and El Rufai had made serious statements concerning the crisis how do we get justice?

“With pains, a  delegation from Benue visited president Buhari and the only consolation he could give us was to say, in the name of God, accommodate your fellow countrymen, with this statement, how will my people get justice?  This is my concern”

Other speakers who spoke at the meeting include; Catholic Bishop, Makudi diocese, Bishop Wilfred Anagbe, former attorney general and minister of justice, Hon. Mike Aondoaka, SAN, a former commissioner in the state, Mrs Rebecca Akpedzan.

Others include; president general Mdzough U Tiv, Cheif Edward Ujege, Benard Hon, SAN, State chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Rev Akpen Negua and a second class traditional ruler, Chief Abomtse.

All condemned the lackluster attitude of federal government to the crisis and insisted that there was no going back on the new law, all  saying, ‘this law has come to stay.’

The meeting was attended by prominent sons and daughters of the state from all walks of life; National Assembly members, traditional rulers, religious leaders, politicians and opinion moulders.

Ebonyi governor said that the committee was in the state to find ways to find a lasting solution to the herdsmen/farmers crises in the country noting that the views of stakeholders were necessary to assist the committee in its onerous tasks.

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