Governor of Benue State Samuel Ortom has received a stern rebuke from the Presidency over his allegation of the Federal Government’s purported complicity in Nigeria’s insecurity challenge.
Ortom had said in a recent interview with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, Nigeria, that some security men told him “the Federal Government gave them directive that they do not have to move against these Fulani men” in reference to the herders crisis in the middle belt region of the country.
But in response, the Presidency via a statement authored by presidential media aide Garba Shehu, described Ortom’s claim as a “divisive lie” informed by “cheap, dog whistle politics”.
Shehu challenged Ortom to “name names” while also lamenting his alleged attempt to dishonestly divide Nigerians along ethnic and religious lines in a period of heightened insecurity.
He said: “These ridiculous claims are patently untrue. If he is as brave as he claims to be, let him name names. Let him name the military personnel who told him this story or forever shut up,” the Presidency said in a statement titled ‘Ortom’s lies insults national security system.”
“It is disappointing that Ortom, who in the same interview describes himself as a child of God who believes in being lawful and respects the Nigerian constitution, felt the need to spread such a divisive lie.”
“In a period of heightened insecurity, our politicians should be working to bring us closer together, not risking further violence by dishonestly seeking to further divide us along ethnic or religious lines.
“Fortunately, the cheap, dog whistle politics behind Ortom’s falsehood are plain for all to see. He is not the first opportunistic politician who has attempted to sow discord amongst his country’s people in the run-up to an election; sadly, he will not be the last.”
He berated Ortom as “an opportunist flaunting his wares as the country prepares to elect its next president; a man fond of posing in military fatigue who expects the country to believe Nigeria’s top security personnel would share high-level confidential information with him. To be clear, they do not.”