The Middle Belt Forum (MBF) claims it has uncovered a sinister plot by the Federal Government to impose a state of emergency in Benue State with the intention of undermining the authority of Governor Samuel Ortom, and aggravate the crisis in the state.
The MBF, at the end of its extraordinary meeting in Makurdi, the Benue State capital on Sunday, threw its weight behind Ortom in his recent altercation with the Presidency, saying the “vituperations of the presidency were all aimed at giving the dog a bad name in order to hang it.”
In a communique signed by the MBF President, Dr. Pogu Bitrus, and made available to Ripples Nigeria on Monday, the group said allegations of incompetence on Ortom by the presidency was a compromise on the part of the federal government on the issues of insecurity and appointments among others.
“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 issued by the presidency,” the statement begins.
“It is irrefutable that while the Benue State Governor came out speaking truth to those living in self-denial, we find it incompressible and strange on why Mr. Garba 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.
“It is either the presidential spokesman is incapable of comprehending the content of the interview or he was simply being simply mischievous or both.
“When Mr. Shehu described Governor Ortom as an instigator of genocidal attacks, he was simply attempting to give a dog a bad name in order to hang it,” the MBF said.
While alleging a plot to instigate crisis in Benue State for the purpose of declaring a state of emergency in the state, the MBF said it was totally opposed to such a plan, which it said would throw the state into unprecedented violence.
“For Governor Ortom whose political path has been symbolised as a metaphor for astuteness and deft political moves, he has emerged as the voice of the voiceless and one whose struggle is predicated on the enthronement of equity and justice for ethnic nationalities in Nigeria, especially, in the Middle Belt Region.”