If Governor Samuel Ortom wants peace in Benue, he should cooperate with President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime by accepting Ruga and other policies, says the Presidency.
Mr Buhari’s media aide, Garba Shehu, claimed the recent spate of insecurity ravaging the state resulted from Mr Ortom’s rejection of Ruga settlements.
His comment came on the heels of the killing of Benue residents on Tuesday by killer herders. While reacting to the Tuesday violence, Mr Ortom had said Mr Buhari’s “action and inaction” was responsible, accusing him of Fulanisation of Nigeria.
However, Mr Shehu, in a statement on Thursday, claimed the governor’s refusal to adopt the controversial Ruga policy showed he did not value people’s interest.
The governor had rejected the policy describing it as deceptive and against the interest of Benue indigenes, who are predominantly farmers.
“Benue under the Ortom administration ought to cooperate with the federal government in the implementation of a number of national strategies programmes in addressing underlying issues militating against peace, progress, and development.
“This can still get done when the interest of the people is placed above all other interests. A government voted into office by the people should treat the people as its masters and not as its servants,” said the statement.
Mr Buhari also accused the governor of stirring religious and ethnic violence, accusing Mr Ortom of the divide-and-rule tactic.
“As Nigerians, we accuse colonial rulers of the policy of divide and rule.
“Today, it is our own leaders who pit region against region, religion against religion, ethnic group against ethnic group, and community against community,” the statement added.