The Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to Benue State Governor, Mr Terver Akase has warned individuals and groups who have made his principal, Governor Samuel Ortom a target of sponsored attacks and elimination to be prepared to contend with over seven million people of the state.
Mr Akase also took a swipe at a certain mischievous Prof. Yusuf Usman who in television appearance vilified the Governor and made scathing comments describing him as “irresponsible” because of the Governor’s commitment and dogged stance against open grazing in Benue State.
Speaking when he featured on Arise News “Prime Time” television programme, Monday night, January 30, 2023, the Special Adviser stated that enemies of the state who are sponsors of Fulani terrorists have singled out Governor Ortom as their number one enemy and are manufacturing all manner of lies and blackmail to set him up for hatred and attacks.
He insisted that the killings in Benue by armed herders had nothing to do with open grazing prohibition law, stressing that the law was not a Samuel Ortom but rather a popular legislation that people of the state unanimously urged Governor Ortom to enact to end the frequent attacks and killings in the state.
Akase said the dastardly attacks on Benue State communities by Fulani herdsmen was not as a result of the enactment of Open Grazing Prohibition Law but a grand agenda to sack communities and occupy the peoples ancestral lands.
He stated that long before Ortom became the Governor of Benue State and enacted the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranching Establishment Law in 2017, the armed herders had launched 46 attacks on Benue communities including an attack on former Governor, Gabriel Suswam.
Mr Akase stated “There is nothing like farmers and herdsmen clashes in Benue State but an occupation agenda where gun wielding herders invade communities and kill people at will.”
He said the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria allows State Governments to enact legislations for the good governance of their states, noting that “Agriculture is not on the exclusive legislative list” hence Benue’s law was justified.
Reacting to the uncouth remarks by Prof. Usman against Governor Ortom, the Special Adviser maintained that “What he said came across as bigotry. It came with the perceptible taste of a bigot” and wondered why someone who claims to be a professor could make such unguarded utterances. He said Usman Yusuf who was sacked as Executive Secretary of National Health Insurance Scheme on account of brazen corruption lacks the moral authority to challenge any leader on governance.
According to Mr Akase, “Ortom has been the most responsible governor in terms of governance, being for his people, standing with his people and doing what they want,” stressing that the enactment of the open grazing prohibition law was not “an Ortom’s law but Benue peoples law” to tackle the invasion of Benue communities by terrorists herdsmen.
While lamenting that Nigerians have become like animals in their country as a result of the orgy of bloodletting by the herdsmen, Mr Akase pointed out that in Zamfara, Kaduna and other parts of the country where there are no laws against open grazing, killer herdsmen unleash mayhem on the people.
Asked to comment on Governor Ortom’s position in the G-5 Governor’s on the choice of a presidential candidate in the forthcoming elections, the Special Adviser stated that his principal had clearly said that if he were not a PDP member, he would have campaigned for Peter Obi given his disposition to tackle security and socio-economic challenges in country.
He added that among the presidential candidates on parade, Peter Obi is the one with the capacity to tackle the current problems facing the country.