Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom has said that he will not sell his people to herdsmen like his counterpart in Plateau State, Simon Lalong who he alleged herdsmen butchered his people and he continued to deny that no one has been killed.
Governor Ortom who was reacting to a statement by Lalong during the presidential campaign rally in Makurdi the Benue State capital, where Lalong said the governor instead of leaving herdsmen issue to forge ahead with governance, is busy hiding under farmers/ herdsmen crises to hide his abysmal performance.
He emphasized that he was not prepared to join issues with Lalong who has abandoned his people to their fate. “I was elected by my people and I will always stand by them at any given point. I will not deny my people even if I am not the governor of the state again. I will always stand by my people and do anything that will protect them. So I want to tell the Plateau State governor to go and face his issues where his people are being butchered every day by herdsmen but he has abandoned them to their fate,” he asserted.
The governor also described the accusations leveled against him by the APC national chairman Adams Oshiomohle that he embezzled N10 billion which was meant to clear salary arrears as hate speech and blackmail.
“There is no record, any where that I diverted N10 billon, if Oshiomhole has such record let him bring it out and show Nigerians and the state where and when I diverted funds meant for salaries,” he said.
Ortom also debunked statements by the senator representing Benue North West, Senator George Akume who accused him of turning the state into a militant zone through the recruitment of livestock guards who are carrying AK 47 and killing people at random.
While saying that he is not threatened by any federal might, Ortom lamented a situation where only those who are members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) were being investigated by the anti-graft agencies.
“Anybody that is talking about federal might in Benue is just deceiving his or herself, because here in Benue, I am also the state might, Akume during his eight years as governor of the state embezzled N2 billion and the case is with the EFCC, but because he is a member of APC nobody is prosecuting him. Did I do wrong to create employment for Benue youths? I was a billionaire before I became governor, even Akume himself knows, so calling me the richest governor, is giving a dog a bad name in order to hang it,” he added.
Akume during the APC presidential campaign, described Ortom as an incompetent, lazy and inefficient governor who has crippled the state’s economy while hiding under the security challenge caused by farmers/herdsmen clashes.
“Let no one hide under the canopy of farmers/ herdsmen crises to deceive citizens of the state that the killings going on in Benue is herdsmen, we have been living with herdsmen for decades and I was the governor of Benue for eight years there was no farmers/herdsmen crises, these killings in the state are being carried out by livestock guards who have been empowered with AK 47 to kill people in the name of herdsmen,” he said.
According to Ortom “You journalists are all living witnesses of the security challenges going on in the state, and you are in a better position to say whether I armed militia or not.”