Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State, yesterday hit back at his Bauchi State counterpart, Senator Bala Mohammed, accusing him of being part of the terrorist groups unleashing mayhem in Nigeria.
Governor Ortom also raised the alarm, accusing Governor Mohammed of profiling him for possible assassination by armed Fulani herders, contending that by repeatedly accusing him (Ortom) of instigating hatred against armed herders in the country, the Bauchi Governor was putting his life in danger.
Governor Ortom who spoke in Makurdi while reacting to the recent media outburst by governor Mohammed, also alleged that the Bauchi State Governor’s unrelenting support for herders to carry AK47 riffles for self defence clearly indicated that the Governor was supporting the mindless killing of Nigerians by armed herders.
The Benue State Governor who said he did not want to join issue with his Bauchi State, counterpart however said, “Since he has chosen to continue to vilify, intimidate and blackmail me, and since it is said that silence is consent, I am compelled to respond.
“I am beginning to think that my brother the Bauchi Governor is part of the Fulani terrorist organisation that is unleashing mayhem in this country. Why do I say this? This is the same Governor who took the oath of office to protect the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The Constitution does not leave room to allow foreign herdsmen or foreign Tiv people of Fulani people or Yoruba to come in without valid papers.
“This is a Governor who said that the Fulani man is a global man so he can come in from anywhere and enter Nigeria. It is quite disappointing to hear a Governor who took an oath to say that. He should go back and check the oath if he is protecting the Constitution by allowing foreign terrorists herdsmen to come into Nigeria.
“Of course he justified his position that Fulani herdsmen should carry AK47 to protect themselves. I do not know where the Constitution of this country allows any man or woman who is not licensed by security agencies to carry even dane guns not to talk of automatic rifles like AK47.
“Again the Land Use Act permits and gives the Governor the sole authority over land. Even if the federal government comes to my state to execute a project they ask for land from me and until I grant the Certificate of Occupancy they cannot do anything whether in the forests or any part of the state. He should read the Land Use Act.
“As Governor you hold the land in trust for the people, even his so-called response to try to run away from the truth implicated him the more. It was on national television and his defense did not go down well with Nigerians.
“I beg my brother Governor to just come out and apologize to Nigerians; it will be consoling because we all make mistakes. If he apologizes it will be appreciated but if he continues to argue he would be inflicting pains, especially on some of us who have been victims of these armed Fulani herdsmen.
“We are thinking that it is an act of conspiracy to wipe some people away including Benue state. This is not right.
“I want to think that, with what he said and what those herdsmen wrote to me that they would assassinate me, Governor Bala Mohammed might be part of what they said and if anything happens to me, I do not want anybody to be in doubt, Governor Bala Mohammed should be held responsible.
“Especially by the last week’s outright condemnable remarks he made about Fulani carrying AK47 and living anywhere in Nigeria whether in the forests and any other place.
“He also repeated that Ortom is responsible for the hatred against Fulani as a way of vilifying me and profiling me towards assassination because he was instigating the Fulani people against me.
“I am not against Fulanis, we have them in Benue State and they will remain here as long as they respect our extant laws. Some of my very good friends are Fulani and we relate very well. I am against terrorist Fulani coming from other countries to seize our land and take over and create problems.
“Governor Bala Mohammed should learn from the likes of Governors Ganduje who came out as a Fulani man to proffer solution to the issue. He should also take a cue from the Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam El Rufai, who is against the terrorist herdsmen who are killing his people.
“These are Fulani people. Is he a more Fulani man than the Sultan? So, my brother Bala Mohammed maybe you have not seen the castigation that greeted your support for herders to carry AK74 in Nigeria.
“Nigeria is not a banana republic, we are an organized country, and bandits cannot find a forest and come in from other countries to take it over. My massage to them is that they should not come to Benue but go to Bauchi and stay with him.”