Middle Belt Forum (MBF) has called on presidential aides to stop what it described as discriminatory response to terror attacks in the region.
MBF said the gabble of a response signed by the presidential spokesman, Mr Garba Shehu, over the interview Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State granted Channels Television was unfortunate.
In a statement issued by the MBF president, Bitrus Pogu, the group said, it was irrefutable that while the Benue State governor came out speaking truth to those living in self-denial, it found it incompressible and strange why Mr Shehu refused to speak on issues raised by the governor but resorted to accusing Ortom of attempting to incite genocidal attacks against the Fulani.
The MBF stated that the indelible footprints of Governor Ortom on our nation’s political sands speak of a patriot who is not afraid to speak when it matters the most, adding that watching the interview, Dr Ortom made no pretences over the real problems confronting Nigeria.
It said true to his character, the governor has never left anyone in doubt as to his position on national issues, especially on matters relating to insecurity and the urgency required in tackling the myriad of tragedies ripping across Nigeria caused by armed herdsmen, unlike some state chief executives who would prefer to remain silent in the face of existential threats.
The group stated that the embarrassing silence and discriminatory disposition by the federal government over the intentional obliteration of their communities and massive massacre of their people must be brought to an end, adding that the Buhari-led government must stop its discrimination in the manner it reacts to terror attacks on other groups and take swift actions against perpetrators. It noted that the governor is not an instigator of violence, but a patriot who can’t keep silent in the face of glaring multiple injustices and destruction of communities, saying Ortom ought to be praised for what he stands for and not to be vilified by a biased presidential spokesman that is living in self-denial.
It asserted that in our democracy that is fraught with subdued silence for fear of higher political forces, Governor Ortom remains a symbol of hope for a nation whose democratic leaders have remained impotent in speaking out against unprovoked murders and premeditated decimation of communities in the country, especially in the Middle Belt region.
“As someone who is in his second and final term as governor, the presidency needs to be reminded that Dr Ortom remains a popular political leader in Benue State, and that it was that popularity that earned him a second term despite ploys by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to truncate his comeback bid in 2019. That he is still the governor of Benue State today is a clear demonstration that he carries the flame of overwhelming acceptability that was freely given through the ballot by the electorate in Benue,” it said.