- Presidency begs for cooperation, understanding
BY EDMOND ODOK – President Muhammadu Buhari has thrashed Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom for the constant attacks on him and his administration over the deteriorating security situation in the country.
Expressing disappointment and sadness that the governor is refusing to see anything good in Federal Government’s efforts at tackling the challenges, the President said “lives of fellow citizens should not be desecrated by deploying them in political diatribe, which unfortunately appeared to be the intent of the string of emotional attacks and blame” by the Benue Chief Executive.
Speaking through his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, the President said having taken an oath to defend the lives and property of citizens, he remains committed to that cause and would therefore not renege in making the country safe and secured for all citizens.
Specifically, the statement by Garba said the President “also states his disappointment and sadness to hear Governor Ortom make a litany of accusations against his person and his government following the recent unfortunate incidents in the state.”
According to the Presidential aide, it is unfortunate that in the name of politics “our own leaders put region against region, religion against religion, ethnic group against ethnic group and community against community.”
The statement urged political leaders to refrain from comments that further divide the country, even as it called for further collaboration with security agencies to curb the rising level of killings and other forms of violence across the country.
In offering condolences to the families that have lost their loved ones recently in Benue state, the statement reads; “The President states that the rising levels of incidents, especially the killings and violence in various parts of the country call for further collaboration with security agencies.”
Importantly, Mallam Garba quoted the President as saying that; “No responsible government takes pleasure in such events as the killing of military men and innocent citizens taking refuge in an IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) camp.
“President Buhari is deeply pained by the terrible acts of violence happening not only in Benue State but also in other parts of the country and expects that the law enforcement agencies will go to every possible extent to catch the perpetrators of these heinous acts and bring them to justice.
“The President continuously stresses that the strength of our country lies in our diversity in faith, culture, and traditions and attempts to sharpen the divide between northern and southern Nigeria, between Muslims and Christians, and between communities that have coexisted for centuries should be frowned upon and resisted.
“As Nigerians, we accuse colonial rulers of the policy of divide and rule. Today, it is our own leaders who put region against region, religion against religion, ethnic group against ethnic group and community against community.
“The future of Benue State and indeed that of the entire country lies in the harmony and the respect for law, order, and the constitution. It is the only way to achieve progress and development.
“While the President will continue to keep security, police and the armed forces on their toes to be on top of their act in troubled parts of the country, the situation in the states will greatly be helped by everyone working together because that is the foundation on which progress and prosperity can be achieved.”
“Benue under the Ortom administration ought to cooperate with the Federal Government in the implementation of a number of national strategic programmes in addressing underlying issues militating against peace, progress and development.
“This can still get done when the interest of the people is placed above all other interests. A government voted into office by the people, should treat the people as its masters and not as its servants”, the statement said
Recalled that pained by recent attacks and killings in Benue state by suspected herdsmen and bandits, Governor Ortom openly accused the President of demonstrating no interest in protecting Nigerians, citing the attack on an IDP camp where seven persons reportedly lost their lives.