- Leaders of the APC in Benue state have made a major allegation against Governor Samuel Ortom
- The political leaders accused the governor of sponsoring local militias in the state ahead of the 2019 elections
- Governor Ortom, however, denies the allegation, accusing the opposition leaders of spreading falsehood
Leaders of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Benue state, have accused Governor Samuel Ortom of training armed militias in the state ahead of the 2019 general elections.
The APC leaders who made the claim at a press briefing in Abuja on Friday, September 14, also alleged that Governor Ortom was been harassing APC members of the state House of Assembly and local government chairmen who refused to defect with him to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Former governor of the state and leader of the APC in the state, Senator George Akume, spoke on behalf of the forum at the briefing.
His words: “Apart from recruiting and arming militia in order to cause mayhem in the 2019 general elections, Ortom has continued to use his livestock guards and vigilante group to harass and intimidate APC supporters across the state, particularly those who have refused to defect with him to the PDP.
“We therefore call on security agencies to check the activities of these groups as we gear up to the 2019 general elections. Also, the governor is pressuring the police authorities in Abuja to post a notorious police officer who had worked in Benue state command, was indicted and transferred to Imo state command, as his Chief Security Officer (CSO).
“The whole idea is for the CSO to recruit and train “bad boys” against 2019. Many of the area boys who had vanished when the governor was still in the APC have resurfaced now that he has gone back to his own vomit, the PDP.”
The APC leaders therefore, called on the federal government to investigate the “stockpiling of fire arms by Governor Samuel Ortom in preparation for the 2019 general elections,” adding that, “the arrest of Alhaji Aliyu Tershaku, the commander of livestock guards and cousin to Governor Ortom is further proof of these fears.”
In a swift reaction, Governor Ortom denied the allegations in a statement sent to Legit.ng by his special adviser on media ICT, Tahav Agerzua.
The statement noted that, “Governor Ortom won election popularly and overwhelmingly without the aid of any militia and there is no need whatsoever for him to resort to any illegal means to win reelection in 2019.”
It further stated that, “the purported arrest of any individual or group of people with or without weapons on any accusation does not amount to a conviction by a court of competent jurisdiction and cannot therefore be used as proof that the governor has a militia.”
It added that, “anyone out to do justice about the incessant violence that has rocked communities in Benue state should first arrest and prosecute leaders of various Fulani groups including those of Miyetti Allah.”
Governor Ortom also accused Senator Akume perpetrated mayhem and electoral violence in Tarka, Kwande and Gwer East local government areas while he held sway as the state governor.
“Governor Ortom as governor is poles apart. He has no need of militia. Yet, there is cause to worry as Senator Akume who is reviving his old militia structures is pointing fingers in the opposite direction,” the statement added.
Meanwhile, the chief press secretary to Governor Ortom, Terver Akase, has assured Benue people that the Ortom administration will not relent in its commitment to taking the state to greater heights of development.
Akase gave the assurance on Thursday, September 13, when he visited the Benue state secretariat of the PDP and met with the state publicity secretary of the party, Bemgba Iortyom.
He said Governor Ortom remains focused on the task of overcoming the numerous economic and security challenges confronting the state.
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