Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has said that the Jama’atul Nasir Islam (JNI) should blamed Fulani Nationality Movement (FUNAM), Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore (MAKH) and Miyetti Allah Cattle Herders Association (MACBAN) and not Governor Samuel Ortom for describing the killings in the state as a jihadist agenda.
Reacting to a statement credited to JNI regarding the reported comments of Governor Ortom on attacks in the state, the Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase, in a statement, warned that JNI was by its statement, trying to instigate religious hatred against the person of Governor Ortom.
“In the statement, Secretary General of JNI, Dr. Abubakar Khalid Aliyu accused Governor Ortom of attributing the herdsmen attacks in the state to a continuation of the late Usman Danfodio’s jihad.
“The impression being created by the organisation that Governor Ortom attacked the leadership of Nigerian Muslims in his comments is as misleading as it is a deliberate attempt to cast the Governor in bad light before Muslims in the country.
Akase, who said that the Fulani Nationality Movement had, on several occasions, declared jihad on Benue State and Nigeria, said it was for that reason that Governor Ortom continued to reiterate his call for the arrest of the leadership of the groups to prevent further killings in the state.
While quoting some links to authenticate the resolve of the Fulani Nationality Movement to wage a holy war on Benue State, the CPS stated that the Governor’s statement only tried to alert security agencies to the threats.
“Governor Ortom used the programme to draw the attention of security agencies to the inflammatory statements made by the said groups vowing to wage a jihad and mobilize their members to invade Benue and resist implementation of the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law passed by the state.
Akase condemned this negative branding of Governor Ortom by the JNI. He maintained that the Benue State Governor has enormous respect for the leadership of Jama’atul Nasir Islam and all other Nigerian Muslims and would not have launched an attack on the religion.
He said the Governor was only responding to a specific question in an interview when he quoted the threats by leaders of FUNAM, MAKH and MACBAN who had addressed press conferences and stated that the attacks on Benue State were a jihad and struggle for the control of natural resources in the Benue Valley.