Seriously? Presidency places cows above Nigerians’ lives, says Ortom

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Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has criticised the presidency for blaming his administration for the killings in the state.

Benue has been in the news for months over violent attacks on residents by suspected bandits.

On Wednesday, the presidency said Ortom should be blamed for the killings, alleging that he rejected interventions from President Muhammadu Buhari to address the situation.

Reacting on Thursday, Ortom described the presidency’s claim as “futile attempts to twist events and history,” saying the presidency places cows above Nigerians’ lives.

The governor, in a statement signed by his chief press secretary, Nathaniel Ikyur, said Buhari has failed woefully in securing the country, particularly Benue.

The statement reads, “Indeed, the Presidential spokesman’s futile attempts to twist events and history in Benue State is unfortunate and reprehensible. It shows how much he and others in that league have misled the government and Nigerian people in the last inglorious eight years.

“It is equally a known fact that President Buhari has failed woefully in securing Nigeria, and Benue state in particular.

“It is on record that Governor Samuel Ortom has repeatedly pleaded with the Buhari government to intervene in the incessant invasion of Benue State by Fulani militias. The President sadly chooses to endorse the invasion and merely asks our people to learn to accommodate their neighbours who derive pleasure in killing and dispossessing them of their ancestral lands.”

Ortom described the remark by the presidency as “an insult” to the people of the state who have either been killed or abused by suspected gunmen.

“The Presidency has shown in this recent public statement that they have placed cows above human lives and made the animals to urinate on the graves of those they massacred in Benue and elsewhere across the country. If not, they wouldn’t have gone to town to mock the slain in their graves,” the statement added.

“It is an insult on Benue people including those killed and butchered children, the maimed, raped and abused women and the over two million people living under squalid conditions in Nigeria’s largest Internally Displaced Camps in the state. The Presidency’s statement is a reckless stab by agents of genocide against the Benue people by blaming the victims.”

The governor also claimed that the Buhari-led administration has been against him since he banned open grazing in the state in 2017.

“Benue people are well aware that Governor Ortom has been a target of the Buhari presidency since 2017 when he boldly signed a law banning open grazing of livestock in the state.

“The Governor has been subjected to many coordinated media attacks, probes, freezing of state accounts and other punitive measures to frustrate and cripple his administration. While other states were given infrastructural loans, Benue under Governor Ortom was denied access to the funds.

“The same thing happened when the Benue State Government met all requirements to secure N42 billion to clear the backlog of salaries, pensions and gratuity,” he said.

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