The Presidency has condemned the governor of Benue state, Samuel Ortom, for allegedly stirring division and hatred against President Muhammadu Buhari in a bid to divert attention from his inability to pay staff salaries and pensions for several months.
A spokesman to the president, Garba Shehu, released a statement on Sunday asking Ortom to “desist from basing his campaign for re-election on falsehoods concerning President Muhammadu Buhari.”
According to the presidency:
- Governor Ortom’s campaign is clearly designed to stir division and hatred.
- The governor wants to divert the people’s attention from his inability to pay staff salaries and pensions for several months.
- The governor has been visiting churches in the state where he falsely tells congregations about President Buhari’s so-called plans to Islamise Benue State. “This nonsense has formed the basis of his campaign, because he has nothing to offer Benue people,” the statement said.
Presidency’s push-back: The governor is being unfair, because the federal government has given him “much support.” The statement said the FG “supported his [Ortom’s] grazing laws as a means to end the farmer-herder crises that have plagued the state. If not for President Buhari’s insistence that the governor be given a chance to effect the law, he would have faced resistance from different sources and found it difficult to implement.”
Advise to the people of Benue from the presidency: “The Federal Government calls on the people of Benue State to not fall for Ortom’s deception and allow themselves to be hoodwinked by such a negative campaign. They should instead, ask him why he has refused to pay staff salaries and pensions for months, and what he did with the funding from the excess crude account which should ideally have gone towards addressing such payments,” the statement said.
There is no response yet from Governor Ortom.