Sunday, Sep 19th 2021 10:26 PM

Market Digest Nigeria


Provide evidence Ortom sponsors militia


Provide evidence Ortom sponsors militia, aide tells Akume



The Chief Press Secretary to Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State, Terver Akase, has asked the Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Senator George Akume, to provide evidence to back his claim that his principal sponsors militia.

Akase challenged the Minister in a statement titled, ‘Sen Akume’s War On Benue State,’ issued in reaction to a press conference in Abuja on Monday, involving Akume and other leaders of the Benue State chapter of the All Progressives Congress.

Ortom’s aide, in the statement, described the press conference as “one in a series of an organised smear campaign against” his principal.

According to the statement, “As expected, Senator Akume and his group avoided responding to the issues of insecurity in the country which the Governor has repeatedly and rightly accused the Presidency of complicity.

“The outing of George Akume and others in Abuja was nothing more than a massage on the ego of the Presidency to curry personal favours. As long as he and his group secure their meal tickets, Benue can go to hell. A media attack on Governor Ortom instantly attracts a package from the Villa.

“Akume and his group must have been under intense pressure to hold the press conference and hurl vituperation against the Governor. This they had to do to keep their jobs.

“The leadership of APC in Benue, having lost grip of the party membership in the state with hundreds defecting to PDP every week, now sees a window of opportunity to relaunch themselves into relevance.

“As a two-term former Governor of Benue State, it is shocking that Akume is now calling for the declaration of state of emergency in the state to dismantle democratic structures.

“Is it not contradictory that Akume faults Governor Ortom over his statements on the President’s handling of the security situation in the country but goes ahead to brand the Governor as a criminal and sponsor of militia? We challenge the Minister to provide evidence to back his claim that the Governor is involved in corruption and sponsors militia.”

Akase recalled that Akume, while a governor in Benue State, challenged the then President Chief Olusegun Obasanjo for not doing enough to end the Jukun/Tiv crisis on the border of Benue and Taraba State.

“He is on record to have confronted President Obasanjo and said uncomplimentary things to the President.

“Now he finds it convenient to give lectures on respect for hierarchy in government and age.

“On his call for a probe, we have no objection to that. Governor Ortom is running a transparent administration and has nothing to hide. We, however, invite the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC to begin their probe from 1999 when Akume became Governor.

“The N2 billion that went missing at the twilight of his administration is yet to be accounted for.

“Akume’s utterances in 2019 are still fresh in the minds of Benue people. After the state came under herdsmen attacks and hundreds were killed, he accused Benue people of killing themselves. That the people responded to him by voting him out of the Senate confirmed their anger towards him.

“Lastly, we expected APC to hold the press conference in Benue to test their popularity among the people of the state,” the statement concluded.

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