Middle Belt Movement for Justice and Peace (MBMJP) has said that Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State deserves commendation, not attack, for calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to take urgent steps to address the worsening insecurity in the country.
It cautioned that any attempt to vilify the governor would further confirm the fears that the Presidency had taken sides with armed herders.
The Convener of MBMJP, Joe Bukka, stated in Makurdi yesterday that those behind the media outing against the Benue governor had done more harm than good to the image of the Buhari Presidency.
His words: “We read the media statement by the three groups that came under the Friends of Buhari to vilify the Benue State Governor for recently advising Buhari to act fast to save the country from the activities of armed herders, who are gradually plunging this country into a major civil crisis.
“Our question is, what offence did the governor commit by that honest and timely advice? In the Middle Belt, we know Governor Ortom as one of the very few in this country who speak the truth always.
“A man, who, in the last few years, has given his all, even to the detriment of his safety and well-being, to champion the call for ranching in Nigeria, which is gradually becoming a sing-song all over the country, deserves commendation and not vilification from any quarter.”
The group warned that any media attack on Ortom, regarded in the Middle Belt as the only mouthpiece of the ordinary man in government, would be counter-productive, as it would further discredit the Presidency.
It pointed out that testimonies abound that the governor, aside championing the people’s cause, had delivered dividends of democracy to the people of Benue.
“Contrary to the claims of Buhari’s friends, Ortom has done so much in the areas of infrastructure, schools, roads, hospitals, electricity, water projects, payment of salaries and pensions as well as the provision of security for the people displaced from their ancestral homes by armed herders and abandoned in Internally-Displaced Persons (IDP) camps by the Federal Government,” the group added.