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Benue Governor decry “restricted access” to Mr President

by Christiana Gokyo, Jos

The Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has revealed that he has resorted to using the media as an avenue to reach out to President Muhammadu Buhari after the Presidency had restricted him access to discuss security issues.

Governor Ortom disclosed this on Tuesday, while reacting on grazing reserve and cattle routes recently re-introduced in 25 states by the Federal Government.

While reacting to recent killings, Ortom accused the Miyetti Allah group of continued sponsorship of the herdsmen attacks in Benue State and its environs.

Stressing his remarks on the attacks by herdsmen, the governor said, Miyetti Allah Kautal group has continued sponsorship of herdsmen to attack, maim and ransack communities across Benue State, which has led to the displacement of over 1.5 million persons.

According to him, there is no land in Benue State for open grazing, but there is land for ranching for any interested applicant.

He noted, thus: “Since I cannot visit the president, personally, to tell him the Benue story, I will use the mass media to reach him, because even if the president is not there to listen to me, one person around him may hear and tell him.”

While criticizing Buhari’s administration, describing it as worst in handling critical matters, Ortom asserted that, “The ruling party All Progressives Congress (APC) administration has brought the country to 20 years of retrogression.”

He lamented that, “When I advised the president on what should be the way forward, they would insult me to divert attention. How can I keep quiet when my people are being killed and displaced?”

According to him, “When I assumed duty as the Benue State Governor, in 2015, I met over N70 billion arrears, and wrote to the President and N28 billion bailout was given to Benue, which we are paying now, but now the president is only releasing money to the APC States.

“No wonder, a former APC national chairman said that ‘when you defect to APC, your sins are forgiven,’ ” he said.

Reacting on the issue of attempted assassination on his life, Governor Ortom said till date he has not heard anything apart from ‘we are still on investigation’ by the Inspector-General of Police, saying that “even those they told me that were arrested I don’t know whether they are being prosecuted or not.”

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