The Middle Belt Forum (MBF) has described the response by the Presidency to last Tuesday interview granted Channels Television by Benue state governor, Dr Samuel Ortom as a “twaddle that should be thrown into the garbage bin”.
In a press statement, Sunday, the Forum through its national president, Dr. Pogu Bitrus, said “After a careful review of the interview and the 10-paragraph response issued by the presidential spokesman, the Forum is shocked at the twaddle response.
It said, while “the Benue state governor came out speaking truth to those living in self-denial,” the Forum found it “incompressible and strange on why Mr. Shehu refused to speak on issues raised by the governor but resorted to accusing Dr. Ortom of attempting to incite genocidal attacks against the Fulani.”
MBF stressed that, “It is either the presidential spokesman is incapable of comprehending the content of the interview or he was simply being mischievous or both.
“The MBF wishes to state that the indelible footprints of Governor Ortom on our nation’s political sands speak of a patriot who is not afraid to speak when it matters the most. Watching the interview, Dr. Ortom made no pretense over the real problems confronting Nigeria.
True to his character, the Governor has never left anyone in doubt as to his position on national issues, especially on matters relating to matters of insecurity and the urgency required in tackling the myriad of tragedies ripping across Nigeria caused by killer herdsmen.
“We reject in totality Mr. Shehu’s unfounded accusations that Ortom’s interview is capable of inciting genocidal attacks against the Fulani. With the record of being a friend to many Fulfulde-speaking people, Dr Ortom has never borne any form of hatred towards anyone on account of their ethnic and religious identity.
“Contrary to insinuations from certain quarters that are promoted by some ill-informed presidency officials like Shehu, the Governor is known to have employed Fulani to work in his ranch just as some of his best friends are Fulani, with their friendship spanning over decades.
“Against the backdrop of genuine and excellent performance of Governor Ortom in the last six years plus, the presidency must stop painting Dr Ortom in bad light in order to portray him as the problem. In a democracy like ours, the silence of Governor Ortom amounts to encouraging forces of evil that are committed to unleash devastating attacks on our people in the Middle Belt.”