Samuel Ortom, governor of Benue state, has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to repair his “battered image” by addressing the security challenges of the country.
Ortom’s comments came on the heels of a statement attributed to Garba Shehu, presidential spokesman, on Wednesday.
Shehu had said Ortom was playing “dog whistle politics” over his claim that the federal government is working against efforts to tackle insecurity in the country.
In a statement on Thursday, Nathaniel Ikyur, chief press secretary to Ortom, quoted the governor as saying that any time he speaks about how bad the security situation is in the country, Buhari’s aides attack him.
“If the presidency assumes that I am wrong about my statements regarding the failure of the present government to tackle insecurity, I urge them to hold a referendum to get the feelings of Nigerians towards their ineptitude, complicity and clear lack of commitment and sincerity in protecting the people,” Ortom said.
“It is sad and unfortunate that the likes of Garba Shehu have zero sympathy for the families of those being killed daily by Fulani terrorists.
“As long as their meal ticket is secured, they tell Mr President to go to bed, that all is well with the country.
“Garba is a man whose loyalty is for sale to the highest bidder. He sings in high praise of the President today because that is his current source of livelihood.
“He will be the first to go against the President once the tables turn. He has done that before with other prominent Nigerians whom he served. A man who betrays his former benefactor for a new pot of porridge does not possess the moral right to question a patriotic leader like Governor Ortom.”
The governor expressed concern that Buhari’s administration descends hard on groups like the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) but treats killer herders with “kid gloves”.
“If I raised a false alarm, why have the Fulani terrorists who are veiled as herdsmen continued to kidnap and kill Nigerians unchallenged?,” he said.
“How many of the terrorists and bandits have been apprehended and prosecuted? The Buhari administration cannot extricate itself from complicity regarding the evil visited on citizens of this country.”