…”I wonder what they smoke at the Villa”, Ortom replies
The Presidency has described as false a statement credited to Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, that President Muhammadu Buhari reportedly ordered security agents not to move against violent Fulani herders.
The President’s Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said top security personnel will not share high-level confidential information with the governor. The Presidency challenged Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State to name those military personnel who told him that President Buhari had ordered security forces not to move against criminal herdsmen or forever shut up.
According to Shehu, in a period of heightened insecurity, politicians should be working to bring the nation closer together, not risking further violence by ”dishonestly seeking” to further divide Nigerians along ethnic or religious lines”.
However, reacting to the utterances of the Presidential spokesman, Principal Special Assistant (New Media) to Governor Ortom, Raymond Magen, insisted that well-meaning Nigerians know the governor as a man who does not make baseless comments on sensitive issues.
In a statement, titled: “Ortom’s revelation cannot be waved away: A response to Garba Shehu”, Magen noted that the presidential aide’s comments, “while being a weak line in the hope of making a rebuttal of the governor’s revelation, it smacks of ignorance to make the claim generally, that, Nigeria’s top security personnel would not share confidential information with a State governor.
“To be clear: in a number of cases, they do. And for a state governor battling with herdsmen attacks, it’s a no-brainer; he must have feedback from all security outfits involved in arresting the herder attacks. And such feedback always includes ‘off record’ or ‘don’t quote me’, information.”
“I once wrote that I wonder what they smoke there at the villa. Garba’s outing here reinforces my curiosity. If Garba expects Ortom to give out the identities of people who give him information on their devilish plans, he’s clearly overrated. It’s sufficient that they know; the Governor and the country now know of this order that has long been widely thought of as merely the body language of the President. It’s worse. It’s now a communicated order”.