- Buhari dignifies me for being outspoken – Benue Governor
By Dennis Agbo & Chinedu Adonu
Benue State Governor, Dr. Samuel Ortom has called on the Federal Government to provide critical infrastructure and development projects to South East zone and as well allocate resources and key appointments to the region in order to end violent agitations.
The Benue Governor also said that the federal government dignifies him by arm twisting and employing all sorts of intimidation against him each time he said truth distasteful to President Muhammadu Buhari-led government.
Ortom said that his offence against the federal government was because he has consistently reminded the federal government that it must respect the rules of law.
He accused the federal government of playing double standards on security issues in the country by treating terrorists in the northern parts of the country with kid gloves, while it is descends heavyly on freedom seekers in the south east.
Ortom however condemned the attacks and destruction of public Infrastructure which he said does not make good case for freedom fighters.
He noted that the federal government has abandoned the principal of federal character, stating that the south east deserves equal share of infrastructure and development as other regions in the country.
Ortom further accused the federal government of adopting intimidation approach on those who are marginalised and traumatised, but said that him, Samuel Ortom, will not keep quiet in the face of such injustices.
He urged President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently convene a South East stakeholder’s meeting, devoid of party affiliation to discuss the challenges facing the region which he said gave rise to youths restiveness and violence being witnessed in the zone.
Ortom made the statements while delivering a Keynote address at a one-day lecture organized by Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), FRCN Enugu Chapel with the theme; “Emerging security situation in the South East: The place of good governance” held at Sam Nwaneri event centre, FRCN Enugu,on Thursday.
He charged the federal government to proscribe all militant Fulani groups as was done in the case of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.
Ortom said: “Eastern Nigeria, like other parts of the country, deserves equal attention with the provision of critical infrastructure and development projects, as well as allocation of resources and key appointments at the federal level.
“The menace of insecurity in the East and other parts of the country can only be successfully addressed when we all set aside sentiments and confront the monster. I therefore urge the federal, state and local governments, traditional rulers, religious groups, civil society organizations, youths and all other stakeholders to support security agencies to perform better. Security is everyone’s business.
“Governments at all levels should take aggressive steps to address the problem of youth unemployment. There must be concerted efforts at job creation and youth empowerment using the private sector to provide employment to young Nigerians. This is one sure way to reducing youth restiveness.
“The Federal Government should urgently put in place the enabling environment for the private sector to thrive, in order to prevent more industries from folding up. Government policies ought to be friendly to boost private sector participation.
“The Federal Government should, as a matter of honesty and urgency, respect the Federal Character Principle to end marginalization and injustice in form of appointments and development projects.
“The Federal Government should also implement the National Livestock Transformation Plan that was adopted by the National Economic Council (NEC). This will not only protect farming communities from attacks and herdsmen from cattle rustling but also lead to environmental protection, security of lives and property as well as guarantee food security. Indeed, ranching will also boost livestock production.
“As I have been saying, the Federal Government should publicly condemn the atrocities perpetrated by armed herdsmen, as well as arrest and prosecute the leadership of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, Fulani Nationality Movement, FUNAM and other armed herder groups who have consistently admitted to the wanton killings and destruction of communities across the country.
“The Federal Government should proscribe all militant Fulani groups as was done in the case of the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB), given that the Global Terrorism Index ranks Fulani militia as the fourth deadliest terrorist group in the world.
“The Federal Government should urgently convene a national dialogue of all ethnic nationalities to address the concerns being expressed by Nigerians.
“The Presidency should urgently hold a meeting of stakeholders of the entire Eastern Nigeria (devoid of party affiliation), probably here in Enugu to discuss the challenges facing the people which have given rise to youth restiveness and the violence being witnessed across the region.
“The Federal Government should listen to patriotic calls from Nigerians and address the worsening insecurity, injustice, marginalization, poverty, hunger, unemployment and inflation, to be able to end agitations across the country.
“I must also appeal to youths of the Eastern region to uphold peace and the non-violence approach in their agitations. I believe that the non-violence model is a better option, as it has worked in other parts of the world.
“I equally appeal to the youths to cease further destruction of federal government structures in the region. Remember that the property you are destroying is your own property. They have already made a genuine case for restructuring among other meaningful demands and their voices have been heard loud and clear across the country and beyond.
“Let me conclude by once again appreciating NUJ, Radio Nigeria Enugu for this honour. I am grateful that you found me worthy of your award. I also congratulate other awardees on this occasion.
“May this event serve as a pedestal for sober reflection over the future of our dear country. I beseech you all to take a moment and reflect on how to make this country a better place for all. Nigeria is on life support and is running out of oxygen.
“All hands must therefore be on deck irrespective of political, ethnic, religious and cultural differences to ensure the resuscitation of the country.”