The Southern Kaduna Peoples Union has berated a former two-term governor of Benue State and Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, George Akume for attacking Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom on his position of insecurity in the state and nation at large.
Akume had at a press conference on Monday asked Ortom to tender an unreserved apology to President Muhammadu Buhari for using foul language when he called on him to address the security challenges ravaging the country.
“This unwarranted and ill-motivated attack has been going on for over one year now, and it seems Buhari’s silence and incredible display of magnanimity to the Governor and the people of Benue has not been enough to pacify him.
“We cannot, however, stand by and watch this brazen show of shame by the governor through infantile and irresponsible public statements on the President.
“And the possible destruction of the cordial relationship, the state as a federating unit has always enjoyed with the centre,” Akume had said.
Reacting, SOKAPU described as an embarrassing outing for Akume to do the bidding of his alleged paymasters than defend his people who are being killed by bandits, adding that he must have been under a spell or influence of illicit substances.
This was contained in a statement signed and issued by SOKAPU President, Jonathan Asake made obtained by SaharaReporters on Wednesday.
The statement read partly, “The Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) is constrained to observe with total dismay and disappointment the insensitivity and utter recklessness with which some highly-placed persons of the Middle Belt extraction continue to treat issues of insecurity affecting the Middle Belt Region with levity.
“Of a particular reference is the recent embarrassing outing by a one-time governor of Benue State, Sen George Akume who is now the Minister of Special Duties under this current administration.
“In his press conference held in Abuja, as if under a spell or influence of some illicit substances, the former governor could not hide his desperation in pulling down Governor Samuel Ortom and indeed the entire people of Benue State who have for the past six years been under severe attacks by Fulani herdsmen militia.
“Instead of using his good office and closeness to President Muhammadu Buhari to tell Mr President the naked truth about the atrocities being perpetrated by invading Fulani herdsmen militia against the Benue people, he rather chose to play the role of an errand boy desperate to change the narrative and misinform or mislead the Nigerian people on the true situation on the ground.
“Nothing can be more unfortunate and pathetic than a situation where a man who is looked up to by the Benue people as a father and patriot has chosen to stoop so low as to play the role of a man Friday in defence and promotion of a well-orchestrated agenda of Fulanisation which will ultimately consume everybody, including himself, if not checkmated.
“One may ask: why is SOKAPU interested in what is happening in Benue State? For the avoidance of doubt, we wish to stress here that we are interested in what is happening not only in Benue but also in Nasarawa, Plateau, Niger, Kogi, Taraba, Adamawa and, indeed, all other states of the Middle Belt, South-South, South-East, South-West, North-West and the North-East where these mindless Fulani militia has visited its terror on peaceful and defenceless communities leaving in its trail blood and devastation.”
The group, however, threw its weight behind Governor Ortom, saying Nigeria would have known peace if many governors were shouting against terror attacks Fulani assailants and their sponsors.
SOKAPU stated that its members have been victims of murderous Fulani herders in Kaduna State, urging President Buhari to caution the assailants and address the insecurity once and for all.
The statement further read, “Considering the fact that Southern Kaduna is one of the areas that has suffered the worst of these atrocious attacks by these terrorists, it beats our imagination that a man like Senator Akume who should, not only be heard but be seen supporting Governor Ortom in his unrelenting and resilient fight against the agenda of supplanting indigenous communities by sponsors of these terror attacks is regrettably not only keeping quiet, but also being used to attack his brother as if he is playing the character of a useful idiot.
“It is strange that Senator Akume in his press conference was more interested in defending his paymasters than speaking out in defence of the Benue people who are being terrorised, supplanted and their ancestral lands being taken over by the Fulani herdsmen invaders, a typical situation also being faced by the Southern Kaduna people. So, we feel the pain.
“The unfortunate call by the former governor on federal authorities to comb and retrieve dane guns, bows and arrows, kitchen knives, etc., with which the local communities have often used to defend themselves against the attackers shows directly that Senator Akume supports the genocide and ethnic cleansing being perpetrated against the Benue people and other ethnic nationalities across the Middle Belt and elsewhere in the country.
“We, the people of Southern Kaduna, being one of the main victims of these terror attacks, vehemently reject and oppose Senator Akume’s position and we hereby declare our solidarity and confidence in Governor Ortom who has taken a decisive stand for his people and the rest of humanity.
“Another issue raised by Akume is that Governor Ortom uses provocative language to insult his slave master but did not realise how he threw away decorum and insulted his own governor for committing no offence, other than standing firm in defence of the Benue people.
“It is laughable that Akume would accuse Governor Ortom of establishing Forest Guards as duly provided by a law enacted by the Benue House of Assembly, but chose to ignore the presence of Hisbah in Kano state, for instance, which enforces Sharia practices in line with the wishes of the people of the state. What a double standard of a leader!
“SOKAPU wishes to note here that if every governor remains resolutely committed in providing security and wellbeing of their citizens as Governor Ortom and a few other governors are doing, the present security challenges would have been a thing of the past.
“Finally, we call on President Buhari to heed to the voice of reason by Governor Ortom and other governors that have raised concerns on the present dangers facing the Nigerian state occasioned by the atrocious activities of these Fulani herdsmen invaders. The President can redeem his good name by supporting and partnering with state governors and other leaders who have seen existential threats posed by these attackers in order to stave off the imminent disintegration of the country under his watch.”
Saharareporters, New York