From Okwe Obi, Abuja
Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, George Akume, has flayed Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State, over what he called poor handling of the security situation in the state and his constant attack on President Muhammadu Buhari.
Recall that Governor Or tom had accused President Buhari of emboldening the activities of Fulani by planning to create grazing route in states which is contributing to herder and farmers’ clash in the state.
But, Akume at a press briefing, organized by chieftains of the All Progressive Congress (APC) Benue State chapter, yesterday in Abuja, maintained that President Buhari has been so kind to Ortom especially for releasing over N500 billion to enable him pay salaries and address the issue of insecurity, but wondered why the governor still pick holes in the administration of the president.
The former lawmaker noted despite Ortom’s unguarded remarks, the president has never publicly insulted or undermined the office and person of the Governor of Benue State or any other state for that matter, talk less of joining issues with him about his instant armageddon of Nigeria.
He said: “Governor Ortom has destroyed the local government system which should help nip in the bud, cases of insecurity; allocates to himself a monthly allocation of Eight Hundred Million Naira (N800 million) as security votes, squanders same and then sits back to criticise President Buhari for his failure to arrest and prosecute criminal elements in Benue State.
“By Governor Ortom’s utterances, he creates an impression that Benue State is a sovereign nation which he reigns over to the exclusion of President Buhari.
“He fans embers of ethnic bigotry and hate emphasising that he was the leader of the Tiv nation while President Buhari is the leader of the Fulanis.
“He discountenances the fact that to fight insecurity in any part of the nation is a joint effort among the Federal, State and local governments, of which President Buhari regularly assigns various Armed Forces formations to help Benue in the exercise.”
Akume continued: “As far as we know, the President has delivered all his obligations to the Governor and people of Benue State by ensuring regular and prompt releases of state’s and local government’s monthly federal allocations, all which amount to about Five Hundred Billion Naira (N500 billion) since Ortom’s assumption of office as Governor in 2015.
“Furthermore, President Buhari had released Forty Billion (N40 billion) Naira to the Ortom administration as bail out funds to enable him pay outstanding salaries, pensions and allowances, as well as another Twenty-Eight Billion Naira (N28 billion) released to Governor Ortom as refunds from the Paris Club refund, just as also, the President graciously sent an extra Ten Billion (N10 billion) to the Benue State Governor to enable him provide infrastructures for the people of Benue State.”
Consequently, he called on Ortom to “tender an unreserved apology to President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, for using foul language and for operating outside the set rules of engagement between the State and the Federal Government;
“The EFCC and ICPC to thoroughly investigate the application of the total federal allocations to Benue State from May 29, 2015 to date.
“The Federal Government should as a matter of urgency direct the disbandment of the Livestock Guards in Benue State for their involvements in nefarious and criminal activities leading to the breach of peace and massacre of innocent citizens of Benue State.
“The federal government should thoroughly comb the State to recover those arms.”