Presidency backing, shielding bandits, Ortom alleges

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Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has alleged that the presidency is backing and shielding bandits terrorising residents.

Mr Ortom, who made the allegation in an interview with BBC Pidgin on Saturday, queried why the President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government has refused to halt banditry the way it moved against seccessionist leaders in the Southern part of the country.

The latest allegation comes two days after the presidency attacked him for alleging that its principal has an agenda to Fulanise the country, an allegation first made by former president Olusegun Obasanjo.

Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, who refuted the claim, said the governor was unfit to hold public office for lamenting about the unending killings in his domain. Mr Shehu, according to the governor, responded under the influence of drugs.

Doubling down on the present administration, Mr Ortom is now alleging that the Buhari presidency has been shielding and backing bandits who are now abducting school children for ransom.

“If the government has power to stop Sunday Igboho and Nnamdi Kanu, why don’t they have powers to stop bandits?” the governor queried. “All we hear is unknown gunmen.

“For me, I know it is Fulani bandits that are coming to kill us in Benue and our current leaders at Aso Rock in the presidency, have hands in all these that’s happening.

“Infact, I was not the one who said it, even the Fulani bandits, they don’t want them to be addressed as Fulani.

“They should just be calling them bandits, but they have come out to say this government brought them in 2015. It is not something to hide.

“I’m not the one who said this alone, Obasanjo has said it too, even Sultan too. Didn’t you hear what Commodore Kunle said days ago?”

When asked to provide proof to back up his allegations, the Benue helmsman cited the haste made by the federal government to silence secessionist groups in the South, querying why such should not be applied on bandits.

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“Which proof do you want again? Why did the President not brand the Fulani bandits as terrorists just like the way it branded IPOB as terrorist group and the way it tagged Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Igboho?

“The President knows what he is doing, there are good Fulani people and those who want the country to be at peace but the President does not want it to happen. When I talk, the next thing is to blackmail me.

“When I spoke on channels TV few days ago, it is been a while I spoke there, then the next thing I heard is that they are being queried because of my interview.

“Miyetti Allah sponsors terrorism, they get funds and they have taken responsibility for their actions.

“I have written a couple of times to the President. Another group, Fulani nationality movement attempted to assassinate me, I have sent these findings to the president.

“All these things, the presidency have all my findings especially the handlers of the President,” he maintained.

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Presidential spokesmen, Mr Shehu and Femi Adesina were not reachable for comments as at press time.