Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has advised the Federal Government to stop intimidating patriotic Nigerians who are raising genuine concerns over the worsening security and economic situation in the country.
In a press statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase, Ortom, described as unfortunate, the response of the Presidency to the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Bishop Matthew Kukah’s address to United States Congress Committee on Foreign Affairs regarding the wave of insecurity in the country and contended that Kukah spoke the minds of 95 percent of Nigerians.
According to the governor, “I stand by Bishop Kukah on the issues he raised”, stressing that he would have said similar things if he were to address the same audience.
Ortom stated that the country is practicing democracy which has no room for repression and dictatorship, even as he declared that the country’s Constitution guarantees the freedom of speech to all citizens, unlike a military regime which suppresses the right of the people to voice their opinions on challenges facing their country.
He argued that Bishop Kukah is one Nigerian who is selfless and speaks his mind frankly on national issues, while calling on the government to ensure justice, the rule of law and equity for all.
The governor was perplexed that the Presidency has chosen to politicise the views of Kukah when all the issues he highlighted in his address are facts about the country.
He maintained that Kukah was right when he stated that nepotism has been elevated above federal character by the present administration and also agreed with the Bishop that Christians across the country are targets of elimination and thousands have already fallen to the sword of jihadist supremacists.
Ortom stated further that Kukah is not to blame for the ranking of Nigeria as the 8th least peaceful country in Africa and the rating of killer herdsmen as the 4th deadliest terror group in the world by the Global Terrorism Index, pointing out that .he expected the Presidency to rather be worried that Nigeria is ranked as the most terrorised nation in Africa with an average of over 2,000 deaths per year on account of terrorism.
“The President went on to announce to the world on that occasion that apart from the civil war era, Nigeria had never been more insecure in the country’s history, saying that if a man who was seeking to govern the country could reel out such scary statistics, why will his aides now launch media attacks on a clergyman who is only advocating peace and is drawing the attention of the global community to the plight of helpless Nigerians.
The Governor thereby task the Federal Government to arrest and prosecute members of armed Fulani groups for killing innocent Nigerians, the same way it effected the arrest of the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, and Yoruba nation agitator, Sunday Igboho to prove critics wrong that its fight against terrorism and other crimes is unbiased.
Uche Nwosu is a two time Shell Petroleum PLC award winner in the year 2000;
He won the Shell Award on Investigative Journalism and Environmental Cleanliness.