Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has again displayed his penchant for stoking the fire of religious and ethnic tension with his recent letter to President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Foundation for Equity and Justice (FEJ) condemned the governor’s stance in a statement on Friday.
Ortom had accused the president of not doing enough to halt the herders-farmers conflict in Benue and insecurity in the country.
But the Foundation for Equity and Justice noted that Ortom aims to cause panic in the state and then point fingers at the Federal Government.
In the statement signed by its Secretary-General, Raymond Oralu, the group said the governor, being a “herdsman” wants to monopolize cattle business in his state and would go to any length to secure that.
According to the foundation, Ortom’s claims that Buhari is a Fulani president is an insult to the sensibilities of Nigerians.
The group, however, advised the Benue governor to desist from making unguarded and unsubstantiated statements in the press and concentrate on the task of governance.
The statement further called on the Ortom to explain how he amassed assets worth over N200b in five years when it is a known fact that under him civil servants are being owed several months’ salaries and arrears.
While calling on relevant authorities to investigate Ortom, the foundation said the governor should be held responsible for the escalation of farmers-herders conflict in Benue and environs.
Read the full statement below:
The Foundation for Equity and Justice is issuing this press statement given the statement credited to the Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom on the farmers-herders conflict in Benue state and other parts of the country.
Governor Samuel Ortom with his recent statement confirmed to Nigerians that he indeed harbours sinister motive against the Muhammadu Buhari administration concerning the farmers-herders conflict in Benue State and its environs.
What the generality of Nigerians does not know is that Governor Samuel Ortom is a herdsman who is actively involved in the cattle business since he became governor of the state. It is also common knowledge that he has been ferocious in taking control of the cattle business in Benue State and its environs hence his frequent castigation of the policies of the federal government towards the restoration of peace amongst farmers and herders in the state.
The Foundation for Equity and Peace as a body is aware of the plot by Governor Samuel Ortom to stoke tension in Benue state and thereafter point accusing fingers at the Muhammadu Buhari administration.
The recent statement where he posited that President Muhammadu Buhari is president only for the Fulanis is an insult to our collective sensibilities as a people for it is not only derogatory, it is an affront to our commonsense as a people.
The performance of Governor Samuel Ortom in Benue State is indeed woeful and as such he has elected to be clever by half by stoking ethnic tension in the state and craftily shifting attention from his inadequacies.
We wish to advise Governor Samuel Ortom to desist from making unguarded and unsubstantiated statements in the press and concentrate on the task of governance in Benue state towards availing the good people of the state the dividends of democracy.
Governor Samuel Ortom must also do well to explain how in five years he has amassed assets worth over 200 billion Naira when it is a known fact that under him civil servants are being owed several months’ salaries and arrears.
Governor Samuel Ortom is indeed the definition of corruption and multiple pieces of evidence indicate how he has continued to divert the resources of Benue State to private pockets while the people suffer untold hardship.
The Foundation for Equity and Justice is using this medium to call on the relevant security agencies to beam their light on Benue State towards unravelling how Governor Samuel Ortom has been fuelling insecurity in Benue State and environs.
The security agencies must also unravel how he has been arming ethnic militia groups that have been perpetrating violence under the cover of the state government on innocent people across the state and neighbouring states.
We know that Governor Samuel Ortom would stop at nothing to ensure that he monopolizes the cattle business in the state hence his penchant for conflict that has continued to put the lives of innocent people at risk daily.
We find such disposition from a governor of a state who should know better that part of his responsibilities is to protect the people and not subject them to a reign of terror which has remained the hallmark of his administration.
Governor Samuel Ortom must as a matter of necessity stop playing the gallery on the farmers-herders crisis when it is evident that he is the main instigator of the conflict in fulfilment of his selfish desires which remains a crime against humanity.
We hereby call on all Nigerians to hold Governor Samuel Ortom responsible for the escalation of the farmers-herders conflict in Benue state and environs as we have it on credible authority that he plans to extend his nefarious activities to other states in the country.
Nigerians must also be aware that the notoriety of Governor Samuel Ortom is legendary since his days in politics as he has been actively involved in promoting deprivation, sorrow, tears, and blood.
The Foundation for Equity and Justice is calling on Governor Samuel Ortom to retrace his steps and seek forgiveness from the people of Benue state whose lives he has turned beggarly since he assumed leadership of the state.
He must also realize that time is indeed running out for him as his gimmicks are now in the public domain and as such no amount of propaganda can erase the hard truths with regards to his penchant for stoking religious and ethnic tension.
This is a statement of the fact and we stand by our position.
Buhari Claims #EndSARS Protesters Wanted to ‘Remove’ Him
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari Thursday claimed the #EndSARS protests against police brutality that took place in the country last October were aimed at ousting him from office.
Buhari blamed the protests on the dwindling inflow of foreign direct investment to the country.
He insisted that Nigeria’s army of young people that participated in the protests have made it unattractive to investors.
The President stated this Thursday in an exclusive interview on ‘Good Morning Show’ on ARISE News Channel, a broadcast arm of THISDAY.
Obasanjo Slams Agitators of Secession
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has condemned agitators of disintegration of the country saying that that it will be “almost idiotic” for Nigeria to disintegrate at a time like this when Africa is trying to reintegrate for political, social, and economic development.
He insisted that the country is better together for all the ethnic groups in the country to remain together as one indivisible nation with fairness and equity and where all Nigerians will feel proud, rather than for each tribe to go its separate ways.
The former Nigerian leader spoke at the luncheon and investiture organised by the Nigerian Institution of Surveyor, Ogun State chapter, held at the premises of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL) Abeokuta.
The former President called on all agitators for the disintegration of the country to shelve the idea and work for the unity and oneness of the country.
While admitting that the present situation in the country is not palatable, he stressed that calling for the disintegration of the country is not the solution.
He expressed the optimism that, Nigeria will come out stronger from all the challenges currently confronting it if all citizens shelve their personal interests and work together for the unity and progress of the country.
The former president who cited Pakistan, Yugoslavia, and Sudan as countries who have broken away, but are yet to find solutions to their problems, said Nigerians should blame themselves for the country’s woes rather than blaming God.
“If there is any Nigerian who does not feel apprehensive on the situation of the country, the person is a human being without being human.
“Any Nigerian who is human will be apprehensive, if not frustrated with the present situation in the country. We are apprehensive about security situation, apprehensive about economic situation, apprehensive about our political situation and the drum we are hearing is that of disintegration of the country.
“I am a strong believer of one Nigeria, but not one Nigeria at any cost, but one Nigeria where every Nigerian can feel proud that he or she has a stake in this country.
“No Nigerian is born a slave in this country. No Nigerian is born to be oppressed in this country and those of us that have shared part of our blood and sweat for this country, we did that because we wanted a country that every Nigerian can claim as his or her own.
“One thing that gives us strength is our diversity. If all that we have is Republic of Oduduwa for those who said so, their position is understandable. If that is all we have, members of that country will be diminished compared to be a citizen of Nigeria. Citizens of Oduduwa Republic or any other republic from Nigeria will be diminished compared to citizens of Nigeria.
“In this age and time that we are talking about the reintegration of Africa for economic development, disintegration of any country will be almost idiotic if we have Igboland as an independent country, Yorubaland an independent country and Fulani/Hausaland an independent country.
“And as a friend of mine in the military used to say then, what will become of the over 300 minorities – the Jukuns, the Gbasamas? Where will they belong? The only reason they can raise up their heads is because they belong to Nigeria. Are we thinking of them or are we are just being selfish? It doesn’t matter what we do, we will still be neighbours.
“We had seen it before, India was broken into India and Pakistan, they are still at war till today. Yugoslavia was broken into how many countries, they haven’t sorted it till today. Sudan was broken into Sudan and South Sudan, I don’t believe South Sudan is better for it and that is the truth.
“I believe it will cost us less to work for our unity, there are many things wrong, but those things are correctable if we make efforts to correct them and hold us together than what it will cost us to break up and be perpetually at war and all our money will be spent in building an army. I know what an army contains, I know what it means to keep an army, an army that may not be productive, let us think about it”, Obasanjo stated.
Speaking on the importance of survey to national development, Obasanjo said, the entire country should be surveyed to achieve economic development and transformation.
He, therefore, charged the national body of the Nigerian Institution of Surveyors to draft a proposal on the national survey of the country to the Federal Government.
“When I was the president of the country, the project of surveying the entire country began, but it got stuck and I don’t know where the project is now”, Obasanjo noted.
Continue Using Twitter – NASS Joint Minority Caucus Urges Nigerians
The Joint Minority Caucus of the Senate and the House of Representatives has met over the ban on Twitter by the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government and has restated its condemnation of the embargo as draconian and unacceptable.
This position was contained in a communique signed by Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe the Minority Leader of the Senate) and Hon. Ndudi Elumelu the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives.
In the statement, the Joint Minority Caucus also dismissed threats by the APC-led government to arrest and prosecute Nigerians using Twitter and calls on Nigerians to go ahead and use their Twitter as they would not be contravening any law in Nigeria or any international statute.
The Joint Minority Caucus recognized the provisions of Articles 19 and 20 of the United Nations Charter on Fundamental Human Rights, which Nigeria is a signatory to, as well as provisions of Sections 39 and 36 (12) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), and notes that by these provisions no one will be violating any law for using Twitter in Nigeria.
As lawmakers, the Joint Caucus said it is pained by the anguish Nigerians, especially the youths, who find the use of Twitter as a means of livelihood and genuine social interaction, are passing through just because the APC-led Federal Government feels slighted that an individual’s post, was deleted by Twitter for ethic violation.
The joint caucus, therefore, called on Nigerians to use various opportunities offered by technology and continue making use of Twitter since such does not violate any law in our country.
“It is agonizing that Nigeria and Nigerians have been losing billions of naira on daily basis since the ban on Twitter. This is completely unacceptable as it is worsening the already biting economic hardship and frightening unemployment level in the country.
“Moreover, the ban on Twitter in Nigeria appears to be in favour of criminal and terrorist elements, whose activities fester in an environment of suppressed information flow.
“The Joint Minority Caucus sympathizes with the organized private sector, manufacturing and service providing companies, small and medium enterprises, online business owners and other hardworking entrepreneurs across the country, whose genuine business and means of livelihood have been crippled by the unwarranted ban on Twitter by the APC federal government,” the statement partly reads.
The caucus also identified with our students, research-based organization, media houses, the organized civil society, faith-based organizations, community groups among others, whose information-based activities have been violently disrupted by the ban.
In the same vein, the Joint Caucus sympathized with regional, states, local government as well as members of the international community, whose genuine and constructive activities have been crippled by the prohibition of twitter in Nigeria
It also identified with traditional rulers, who have even found Twitter as a means of communicating with the constituents, especially in this era of insecurity in the country.
The Joint Caucus vehemently berated the APC-led government for abandoning its duty of addressing the serious economic and security problems confronting our nation to rather focus on dissipating energy victimizing Nigerians over their disagreement with Twitter for deleting a post by an individual.
The Caucus counseled the Federal Government to swallow its pride, accept its misdoing and go and settle whatever issue it has with Twitter instead of this resort to inflicting pains on Nigerians.
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