By Akanimo Sampson
Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State is currently pressing for the arrest of the National President of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, Abdullahi Bodejo, for describing a statement he made on the controversial RUGA of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration as a threat to the country.
Though Bodejo was quoted in some dailies to have threatened that governors that refused to establish cattle colonies, also known as RUGA settlements, will not know peace in their states, the establishment is not likely to act in spite of the weighty security implications of such a threat.
The obviously unguarded outburst is re-echoing as the Niger Delta Affairs Minister, Godswill Akpabio, is crying out about his safety over the seeming nasty plundering of the vastly polluted oil and gas region.
Akpabio says people he tagged as the Niger Delta Vultures are after him, even as he has also denied collected money from the former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Nsima Ekere, to frustrate the ongoing probe of the commission’s activities.
Ekere was Akpabio’s deputy when the minister dominated the affairs of Akwa Ibom State as governor. Akpabio also unsuccessfully backed Ekere to flush out Governor Udom Emmanuel in this year’s governorship election on the platform of the All Progressives Congress.
While claiming that he is not part of those milking the resources meant for the development of the Niger Delta since 1999, Akpabio added, ‘’it’s part of the effort to frustrate the forensic audit of the accounts of the NDDC ordered by President Buhari.’’
Continuing, he said, ‘’I have not received any kobo from anyone in the NDDC or any other agency of government and I want anyone who has any claim to the contrary to come out openly to lay the fact before the public. This is a case of corruption fighting back, because no one foresaw that a forensic audit of the accounts of the commission could ever be ordered.’’
Insisting that he has always handled any assignment given to him with courage and forthrightness, he pointed out that this was why his stride in Akwa Ibom was described as uncommon transformation.
While thumbing his chest that he completely transformed the landscape of the state with landmarks projects like the Godswill Akpabio Stadium also known as the Nest of Champions and several roads network in the state capital and across the entire state when he was the governor of the state, he assured the people of the Niger Delta that he will not fail on the mandate given to him by Mr. President to make a great impact on the development of the region for the next four years.
He said he has no grudge against anyone and would rather focus on how best to deliver on the mandate given to him, and therefore, called on the people of the Niger Delta and indeed Nigerians to support him to deliver on the Next Level promises of the President for the nation.
In the mean time, Ortom in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase, described the utterance by Bodejo as inciting and direct invitation for anarchy.
The daring Bodejo was quoted as saying, ‘’you are a governor and you want to enjoy peace in your state, you don’t need any long meeting, just create a particular area for the Fulani and equip them with modern amenities.’’
Governor Ortom said, ‘’no group should be above the law to be dictating to states on how to accord preference to it at the expense of other Nigerians. We call for the arrest and prosecution of the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore president for persistently making statements capable of stirring crises in the country.’’
Adding, the governor said that the statement by Bodejo was not only a threat to peace but also a prelude to another round of attacks on Benue.
‘’They carried out their threat on the eve of 2018 New Year when their armed militia murdered 73 innocent persons, destroyed property worth millions of naira and displaced over 500,000 people in Guma and Logo local government areas.
‘’As a state, Benue will not take the current threat by Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore lightly. The law of the land is sacrosanct and must be obeyed by everyone. Any individual or group who wants to breed animals in the state should be prepared to ranch them.’’
At a thanksgiving service on Sunday, Ortom also reiterated the need for herdsmen in the state to be ready to embrace the anti-open grazing law.
Though the thanksgiving service was organised in his honour by the Independent Print Publishers Association of Nigeria at the Chapel of Grace, Government House, Makurdi, the governor maintained that nobody was above the law and no group of persons or persons would be allowed to dictate how to govern the state.
While he appreciated the president and members of the association for honouring him and promised to keep the flag of the IPPAN flying, Evangelist Michael Ewache of the Glory of His Majesty, Makurdi, in his sermon said God approves leaders, adding, ‘’if God has made a choice, everyone needs to follow because no one has the power to object to the choice of God.’’