The Presidency has disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari supported the anti-open grazing law in Benue enacted by administration of Gabriel Ortom, the State governor in 2017.
The Presidency made this known in a statement by Garba Shehu, the President Senior Special Adviser on Media and Publicity in a reaction to what was alleged to be Governor Ortom hate campaign against President Buhari.
The Benue anti-grazing law came into force on November, 1, 2017, which seeks to prohibit open grazing herdsmen and prevent further clashes between herdsmen and farmers in the State.
According to the Presidency, the governor has been visiting churches in the state where he falsely tells congregations about President Buhari’s so-called plans to Islamise Benue State.
The statement reads, “the Presidency calls on Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State to desist from basing his campaign for re-election on falsehoods concerning President Muhammadu Buhari and instead focus on the dire issues confronting the State” .
“Governor Ortom’s campaign is clearly one designed to stir division and hatred, and to divert the people’s attention from his inability to pay staff salaries and pensions for several months”.
“It has been noted that the governor has been visiting churches in the state where he falsely tells congregations about President Buhari’s so-called plans to Islamise Benue State” .
This nonsense has formed the basis of his campaign, because he has nothing to offer Benue people.
“The allegations coming from Ortom were particularly unfair, when one considers how much support the governor received from the Federal Government, which supported his grazing laws as a means to end the farmer-herder crises that have plagued the state”.
“If not for President Buhari’s insistence that the governor be given a chance to effect the law, he would have faced resistance from different sources and found it difficult to implement” .
“While advising Ortom to immediately stop his dubious attacks on President Buhari, the Federal Government calls on the people of Benue State to not fall for Ortom’s deception and allow themselves to be hoodwinked by such a negative campaign”.
“They should instead, ask him why he has refused to pay staff salaries and pensions for months, and what he did with the funding from the excess crude account which should ideally have gone towards addressing such payments” .