Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has blasted the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan Ali, accusing him of misinforming President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Minister had on Thursday identified the anti-open grazing law of the Benue State government as the immediate cause of killings in Benue State, saying that “communities and other people must learn how to accept foreigners within their enclave.”
Ortom, who was reacting to these statements on Friday described them as unfortunate and coming from a wrong person in government, who always misinforms the president.
While the governor said that he would not surrender his state to foreigners he, however, asked the minister to go ahead and hand over his own state to foreigners.
He noted that the summary of the minister’s outburst amounted to granting immunity to the herdsmen and their cows in the country.
Nigerian Tribune quoted Ortom as saying: “I heard a statement credited to the Minister of Defence saying the killings in Benue was as a result of the anti-open grazing law. I can’t see him saying that kind of thing. If he said so, I would have asked him what he has done when Fulani herdsmen were going about with AK47 rifles.
“I will not surrender my land to foreigners. You can go and do that in your own state. It’s sad that those who are supposed to be assisting the president have instead, turned round to misinform him all for their selfish interests.
“As a state, we are ready to accommodate those who are genuine and who come to our state legally, whether foreigners to do business, but if you are in Benue, you must respect the laws of the land.
“I see the statement as an insult to the collective leadership and sensibility of the people of Nigeria, for a Minister to ask Nigerians to accommodate foreigners who illegally enter the country to cause problems.”
Ortom submitted that all the conflicting statements by officials at the national level were meant to divert the attention of Nigerians from the constant attacks of herdsmen on Nigerians.
“It’s amazing that the Federal Government is playing to the gallery instead of confronting the issue that is capable of consuming the whole country. Let the Federal Government come and show me where I own 6,000 militia. I was the first governor to disarm militia and criminals. How about the herdsmen who are openly displaying weapons? Why have they not arrested them?”
“The other day, they said that those responsible for killings in Benue were ISIS, all these are diversionary by the government.
“I am now beginning to see that they have given immunity that is the prerogative of the president, vice president, governors and deputy governors to herdsmen, who kill at will. “Cattle in Nigeria now have more immunity than humans, this is very unfortunate,” he lamented.