Nigeria: Benue Killings - Buhari Media Organization, Benue Govt in Hot Exchange

21 May 2019

Makurdi — Benue State government has described the Buhari Media Organization, BMO, as a group made up of political jobbers jostling for appointments from the Presidency, the organisation has made jest of its name with the unfounded allegations regarding the Benue State security situation.

The Special Adviser to the Benue state Governor of Media and ICT, Tahav Agerzua who was reacting to a statement credited to the BMO where the group accused Governor Samuel Ortom masterminding the killings in the state for political gains, said it was another blame-the-victims strategy to make a mockery of the Benue people.

The BMO had in the said statement alleged among others that "Governor Ortom overtly created tension in his state and created division among the peace-loving people of Benue state.

"He fuelled a hate ideology that encouraged crisis in the state while diverting the mind of the people from the real issues of under-development, a product of his mismanagement of the state's resources."

In his reaction, Agerzua said, "the latest outing of BMO is only part of the blame-the-victim strategy employed by enemies of Benue State from within and outside the state, who, having failed in their bid to oust Governor Ortom through the electoral process have resorted to shameless lies to tarnish his reputation. Now is the season in which political jobbers such as Niyi Akinsiju and Cassidy Madueke are jostling for appointments from the Presidency, and one of the ways to curry favour is to launch unprovoked attacks on Governor Ortom so that they will be seen as 'hardworking and deserving' of appointments.

"For the information of the group, Fulani pastoralists under different names such as Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association, MACBAN, Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, Miyetti Allah Cattle Herders Association, as well as Fulani Nationality Movement, FUNAM have all confirmed that indeed the Benue attacks were carried out by their members who claimed that their livestock were rusttled.

"To impress their sponsors, the BMO erroneously stated that Terwase Akwaza was Governor Ortom's aide. Akwaza, also known as Gana had at no time been appointed as an aide to the Governor.

"He was a key beneficiary of the amnesty programme initiated by the Ortom administration. However, the very moment he reneged and was accused of having a hand in the killing of the Governor's former security aide, Denen Igbana, the police declared him wanted and the State Government immediately placed a reward of N20 million for anyone with information that could lead to his arrest. The reward still stands.

"What the BMO refused to include in their statement was that leader of All Progressives Congress, APC in Benue State, Senator George Akume, visited Gbishe, Gana's village and reportedly met with him before the 2019 elections.

"It is believed that he solicited the services of the gangster to help APC in rigging the elections. With Gana's support the APC rigged the Presidential, Governorship and State Assembly Elections in Katsina-Ala local government area. Their action is being challenged at the tribunal.

"We are aware of the sustained campaign to change the narrative that Benue people are killing themselves. But what the desperation of those behind the campaign cannot change is the truth that Benue people, other Nigerians and indeed the international community know that herdsmen militia have been responsible for the invasion and attacks on hundreds of children, women and aged people across Benue and several states across the country."

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