Benue killings: You lied, Osinbajo tells Gov Ortom " I never receive any letter from you"

The Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday, denied receiving any letter from Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom, warning him of attacks planned by herdsmen.

His statement came on a day President Muhammadu Buhari and the Benue governor disagreed on the need for cattle colony to be created for herdsmen in states of the federation. While the President asked the governor and other leaders in the state to accommodate herdsmen in the state, Governor Ortom said Benue State had no land to give for cattle colony. In a statement by his spokesman, Mr. Laolu Akande, Osinbajo expressed shock over the governor’s claims, which he described as a “terrible falsehood.” 

Ortom had said he alerted President Muhammadu Buhari, Osinbajo, the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, of the planned attacks by herdsmen but that they allegedly ignored it. Reacting to the allegation, Osinbajo said neither him nor the other parties the governor claimed to have alerted got any letters on the situation. 

What Ortom told me — Osinbajo 

Akande explained that Ortom wrote the vice president a letter dated June 7, 2017, protesting the opposition and resistance of Miyetti Allah to the anti-grazing law, adding that he had also received a letter from the leadership of Miyetti Allah on their reservations about the law. He said: “It will be a terrible falsehood to suggest that the VP was ever informed by the governor or anyone else of the imminence of the killing of citizens of our country in those or any other local governments in Benue State. 

“Governor Ortom wrote to the Vice President, then Acting President, on June 7, 2017, protesting a newspaper publication where the leadership of Miyetti Allah was reported to have stated that it was opposed to the Open Grazing Prohibition law of the state and that they would mobilize to resist the law. “The Miyetti Allah had written to the Vice President on June 5, 2017, on the same law protesting several sections of the law. 

“The governor went on to say that the leadership of Miyetti Allah should be arrested because they used words such as “wicked, obnoxious and repressive,” to describe the law, and because these were utterances that were capable of undermining the peace…” He said upon receiving the letter, Prof. Osinbajo met with Ortom to discuss the security issues in the state, and ordered security agencies to be on the alert. He said, however, that there was no mention of any threats of attacks from the herdsmen in the letter written to him by Ortom.

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