From Scholastica Onyeka, Makurdi
Benue State government has again stated that Governor Samuel Ortom would not be muzzled into silence by the plethora of accusations and threats against him by some Fulani leaders and groups.
Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Animal Husbandry, Alhaji Shehu Tambaya who stated this in a chat with newsmen on Friday vowed that his principal would not retreat or surrender in his fight against the invasion of the state by Fulani terrorists from other parts of Africa.
Tambaya who stated that it is now a common knowledge to everyone that the Governor is being intimidated as a result of his stance against open grazing of livestock in the state emphasized that despite all the accusations against him, the Governor will continue to place the interest of the Benue people above every other thing.
The Governor’s aide stated this against the backdrop of recent allegations against his boss by a group of Fulani elite led by the dethroned Emir of Kano, Lamido Sanusi as well as another coming from a group known as the Fulde Global Development and Rights Initiative.
Tambaya, while insisting that his principal had no hands in the recent killing of some pastoralists and their cattle in Akwanaja community in Nasarawa State wondered whether any governor in Nigeria has the powers to deploy military aircrafts on operational missions.
Tambaya described the allegation by the Fulani leaders and others as laughable, stating that no state governor has the constitutional powers to direct the military on any security mission.
“For the avoidance of doubts, and as far as I know, the constitution of Nigeria does not give any state governor the powers to direct the military to embark on any operational mission. That directive is the exclusive rights of the President who is the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces.
“So, one wonders how these people arrived at the conclusion that my Principal and the Benue Live Stock Guards had a hand in the killing of its people in Akwanaja village last week.
“Sanusi Lamido is one of the highly respected Fulani leaders and one of the revered religious leaders in the country and one expects that in issues of this nature, he would have just put a call through to Governor Ortom to find out the truth about the whole matter rather than jumping into conclusions.”
Tambaya stated further that the Benue Open Grazing and Ranches Establishment Law is a win-win for both farmers and herders as it is meant to protect both groups and ensure a peaceful coexistence among all ethnic groups resident in the state.
He further called on Alhaji Sanusi Lamido and other groups to know that ranching of livestock is the global best practices which any development-minded country should adopt.
Tambaya therefore advised Sanusi and FGDRI to tender a public apology to Governor Samuel Ortom without any further delay.
While sympathizing with the Fulani nation and families of the affected victims over the loss of their people in the said incidence, the Governor’s aide however urged the groups to channel their grievances to the appropriate quarters, emphasizing that Governor Ortom had nothing to do with the killing of their people.