Benue State Governor, Dr. Samuel Ortom, has described President Muhammadu Buhari as the medicine the nation needs to get over its myriad of challenges precipitated by gruelling corruption.
Ortom told senior journalists in Abuja that the president is the only one who has shown courage and boldness in confronting corruption headlong while other leaders merely celebrated graft as part of governance.
The governor said, “Buhari remains the medicine for Nigeria. Despite his age, he is willing to add value, instil discipline and wipe away corruption in Nigeria.
“Before him, nobody was bold enough to confront corruption. It is good for Nigerians to pray for him. For us in Benue we have declared three days fast for Buhari for his quick recovery so that he can come back to work for us.
“We have no business with poverty in Nigeria but indiscipline and corruption have combined to keep us down. We need Buhari to take us to the Promised Land,” Ortom said.
Giving details of the anti-grazing bill, which the Benue State House of Assembly recently passed into law, the governor explained that it was meant to end the incessant violent confrontations between farmers and herdsmen in the state and create wealth for all.
Ortom made it clear that while the herdsmen had the right to produce cattle and sell meat for economic survival, Benue State farmers also have the inalienable right to tend their land and sell the crops for living.
According to him, the bill does not in any way amount to asking the Fulani herdsmen to quit Benue State but to make them to put their cattle in ranges and conduct their business with some level of control and safety for their lives and others in the state.
He said, “We in Benue State have a job to do and we will certainly do it. The anti-grazing bill does not say herdsmen should use gun and kill people. We are not sending any herdsmen away from Benue but they must ranch their cattle under the law.
“The ranching bill is meant to protect both the farmer and the herdsman. I challenge anyone against the bill to give me a better alternative to the current challenge we have on our hands.
I like superior arguments and if there is any on the matter, I would quickly adjust, he said. The governor accused the most wanted militia in the state, Terwase Akwaza, aka Gana, as an agent of the Boko Haram terrorists working to bring down the state, after killing his Special Adviser on Security, Denen Igbana.
Ortom said, “Gana is linked with Boko Haram terrorists to destroy and maim people in Benue. He initially accepted our amnesty and pleaded with us to allow him to bring in other members of his deadly gang under his control.
“He surrendered 87 guns that day and extended his amnesty for another one month. To rehabilitate the boys, we gave him contract to do for the state. But he wasn’t sincere as he went back into crimes.
“He killed my SA in charge of Security and since having been fingered for heinous crimes and being declared wanted by the Police headquarters in Abuja, he has been fighting us using his large followership. Only a God is helping us. If we had not identified this man as a terrorist, he would have overrun us.”
On his alleged feud with the Rivers State Governor, Ortom declined to comment further on any matter relating to Wike. “We don’t want to join issues with Wike because I am a Christian. I have no issue against him and we were both ministers under Jonathan and we know ourselves,” the governor said.