The President Muhammadu Buhari government has accused Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom of inciting violence against people of Fulani ethnic group across the country.
Ortom, whose State has been under series of attacks by suspected Fulani herdsmen, is a vocal critic of President Buhari, who he accuses of protecting the interest of the Fulani to the detriment of those of other Nigerians.
The governor, while appearing on a television programme yesterday, further accused the president of pursuing Fulanisation agenda with his latest attempt to impose grazing reserves for herders in different states of the federation.
However, hitting back at Ortom in a statement through his spokesman, Garba Shehu on Wednesday, Buhari said the Benue governor is a man of few principles who uses his attacks on him to boost his sinking political ship.
“Governor Samuel Ortom has few political principles. We can see this from the fact that he has changed political party five times during his undistinguished career,” the statement said, adding that every time he feels the wind may be blowing in a certain direction, he follows it.
“Unfortunately, for the good citizens of Benue State, the most dangerous direction he blows in today is that of sectarianism and ethnicity.
“In an attempt to boost his sinking political fortunes, Ortom takes the cheapest and lowest route possible by playing on ethnic themes and in doing so knowingly causes deaths of innocent Nigerians by inciting farmers against herders, and Christians against Muslims.
“Specifically, Ortom stirs up hatred by targeting one single ethnic group in Nigeria – using language reminiscent of the Rwandan genocide.
“As was the case in Rwanda where the then Hutu leaders of the country incited their countrymen against each other, claiming there was a “secret Tutsi agenda” over the Hutu, Ortom claims there is a “secret Fulanisation agenda” over other ethnic groups in his state and in Nigeria. This is a copy of the language of Hutu Power – which falsely, and intentionally, accused the Rwandan Tutsi of plans to dominate the country.
“This wicked talk is aimed at giving cover to his so called “policy” on the Ranches Establishment Law – which in reality is purely an act of denial of the law – intended to withhold rights and freedoms from one ethnic group alone, whilst inciting race hatred against them, amongst all others.
“These are not the actions of a man who should be trusted with running public services or holding public office. For the governor of a major state in Nigeria to be politically driven by ethnic hatred is a stain on our country.
“The good, and fair-minded people of Benue State deserve more than this, and we look forward to the next elections when they have an opportunity to restore its greatness”.