From Sola Ojo, Ibadan
Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom is under fire over alleged unprintable words used against his Bauchi State counterpart, Bala Mohammed.
Of recent, the two governors and northern People’s Democratic Party (PDP) heavyweights have disagreed over whether pastoralists should bear arms or not, a development that is tearing the region apart.
Addressing a press conference at a hotel in Kaduna on Tuesday, a group, Nigerian Youth Mobilisation and Enlightenment Movement (NIYEM), called on the northern governors to put their houses in order for a united front.
The co-convener, Yusuf Abubakar, accompanied by other members of the group, also expressed concern over the recent mayhem at Shasha Market in Oyo State where lives and property especially those of northerners were lost, calling for compensation as the preferred approach.
According to Abubakar: ‘Our northern governors should emulate governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi state by standing firm on the issues affecting common interest of the northerners through thick and rain. His intervention and supports to the victims after the carnage in Ibadan and the role he played to douse the tension of reprisal attacks in the north has contributed immensely in bringing our leaders together that has resulted in the visit of some governors to ascertain the level of damage and destruction made by miscreants on Hausa traders in Shasha Market and environs.
‘Northern governors need to urgently put their house in order over present unfortunate scenario played by some of their members brazenly attacking each other for a reason that has nothing to do with the issues on the ground but escalating tension and hatred among Nigerians.
‘The predicament that had bedevilled the forum due to recent unwelcome division and acrimony being generated as a result of unguided utterances, intolerance and lack of cohesion will create a lot of problem for the survival of unity of this great region and its people.
‘We condemn the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom’s, statement against his Bauchi State counterpart, Sen Bala Mohammed. We consider that as an unnecessary, provocative, callous, disheartening and irresponsible statement capable of heightening another tension that can aggravate insecurity, political tension and misunderstanding within the region.
‘Governor Ortom is becoming more dangerous to the peace and political unity of the north. It’s better as a leader to be managing his words whenever he speaks rather than putting millions of people into disrepute and danger because of that reckless statement,’ the group cautioned.
To this group, earlier vacation notice issued to pastoralists to vacate reserves by Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, served as the premise on which traders of northern extraction were attacked by miscreants in Oyo and Ondo states.
The group, called on the federal government to ‘improve the allocation for acquiring standard weapons, training for our armed forces, provide enough manpower and training for the security operatives in the country.
‘Presidency should also caution certain political officeholders, especially in the southwest that are becoming so habitual in making unguided utterances, seen as fashionably dangerous to the success of this war against insecurity in the country, such utterances are capable of mocking our country and creating confusion among Nigerians.’
On Oyo mayhem, Abubakar said: ‘Northerners are not safe in the north or even in the south as well. They have become the target of injustice by many ethnic groups in the country. We are assuring all Nigerians that our stand is clear. We will never allow anybody in the region (north) to subject other ethnic groups to reprisals due to recent happenings in Ibadan and Akure, Oyo and Ondo states.
‘Therefore, we urged all Nigerians not to allow provocation and incitement to divide our collective stand as a people.’
The group also has a word for the Minister of Defence, Major Gen Bashir Salihi Magashi (retd), ‘he to urgently seek forgiveness from all Nigerians, especially those who have lost their siblings as a result of attacks from Boko Haram and bandits. His views are like mocking and playing with the sensibility of the future of our citizens, despite the failure of the federal government to protect lives and properties against such attacks.
‘To this end, we call on all peace-loving Nigerians irrespective of their primordial sentiments, to come together and play their roles towards having a stronger and uniting Nigeria where everyone is safe wherever he or she chooses to live or transact business. Our national cohesion is more important than individuals,’ he noted.