The claim by Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom that high ranking security personnel had informed him personally that President Buhari had ordered security forces not to move against the Fulani herdsmen responsible for recent violence is a major insult to Nigeria’s security system, says President Muhammadu Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.
Describing the Ortom’s revelation as ‘ridiculous’ and ‘patently untrue,’ Shehu, in a statement he shared to Prime Business Africa on Wednesday night, posited that Ortom would be a coward to have declined providing the name of the senior security officer who gave him the privileged information. ‘‘If he is as brave as he claims to be, let him name names. Let him name the military personnel who told him this story or forever shut up.’’
According to the presidential aide, ‘‘It is disappointing that Ortom, who in the same interview describes himself as a child of God who believes in being lawful and respects the Nigerian constitution, felt the need to spread such a divisive lie.
‘‘In a period of heightened insecurity, our politicians should be working to bring us closer together, not risking further violence by dishonestly seeking to further divide us along ethnic or religious lines.
Fortunately, the cheap, dog whistle politics behind Ortom’s falsehood are plain for all to see. He is not the first opportunistic politician who has attempted to sow discord amongst his country’s people in the run-up to an election; sadly, he will not be the last.
‘‘The Nigerian people will see him for what he is: an opportunist flaunting his wares as the country prepares to elect its next president; a man fond of posing in military fatigue who expects the country to believe Nigeria’s top security personnel would share high-level confidential information with him. To be clear: they do not.’’