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T.I Ukende
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The Governor of Benue, Samuel Ortom has replied the Presidency over its statement criticising his perfomance in office.

Recall that the Governor and the presidency have been in a face-off recently over policy on cattle ranching as Ortom insisted that open grazing must be prohibited in the country, particularly in Benue State.

Governor Ortom had during an interview with Channels TV on Tuesday, said the President Muhammadu Buhari’s agenda on open grazing is to ‘Fulanize’ Nigeria.

His comment triggered reaction from the presidency which accused Ortom of inciting ethnic violence, saying he is responsible for the surge in insecurity.

The presidency made the claim in a statement on Wednesday by Buhari’s spokesman, Garba Shehu.

The Governor, in a statement on Thursday signed by his media aide, Terver Akase took a swipe at Presidential media, Garba Shehu, stating that he is ‘under the influence of negative substances’.

The statement read in part; “We read the statement released by the Presidency in response to Governor Samuel Ortom’s recent interview on Channels Television in which he raised a number of concerns bordering on the worsening security situation across the country.

“The tone of the said statement shows the quality of Presidency Nigeria currently has. They abandoned the message and went for the messenger.

“To describe as ‘undistinguished’, the career of a man who has held many key positions at the state and national levels proves that those who penned the piece were under the influence of some negative substances.

“For the information of Garba Shehu and his cohorts, Governor Ortom rose to become a Local Government Chairman, State Publicity Secretary of National Centre Party of Nigeria; State Treasurer of All People’s Party, State Secretary as well as State Deputy Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, National Auditor of PDP, Minister of the Federal Republic and now a two-term Governor.”

“The Governor spoke the minds of most Nigerians on specific areas of failure of the Presidency and its complicity in the heinous crimes committed against citizens by armed Fulani herdsmen and other terrorists. Instead of taking the Governor on those points, Shehu went chasing vain and mundane matters in a desperate attempt to malign the Governor.”

“We demand an apology from the Presidency for accusing Governor Ortom of stirring ethnic tensions and calling for genocide. The Presidency has never hidden its hatred for the Governor and its latest outing only confirms that fact.”

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