Governor Samuel Ortom has condemned Benue state All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftains for campaigning in an Internal Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp recently. In a statement spokesman, Terver Akase, the governor described the action as “a mockery of the attack victims.” The governor who also accused the APC chieftains of desperation ahead of the 2019 general elections, said the opposition politicians deceived the displaced person that they were coming to present relief materials to them, only to turn the occasion to a political campaign.

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Part of the statement read: “We watched in disbelief, the political campaign staged at one of the Daudu camps for IDPs by APC which was addressed by Senator George Akume and the party’s governorship candidate, Barrister Emmanuel Jime. We wonder why the group chose an IDPs camp for a rally. “We understand that the duo of Akume and Jime lied to the displaced persons that they were visiting the camp to give them relief materials, only for the IDPs to discover that it was a campaign rally. “It is on record that Hon. Emmanuel Jime in particular has never made a single statement in condemnation of the series of attacks and killing of Benue people by armed herdsmen. He did not send even one relief material to the thousands in various camps.

“Now that political campaigns are here, the same Jime has not only found his voice but has also chosen to dance on the graves of the dead and mock the displaced persons by mounting a campaign podium to deliver a ‘sermon’ about governance. “Where was Jime when the same people he has today found useful as voters were being attacked by herdsmen with many killed and others made to sleep in the bush among reptiles and mosquitoes for weeks? Is life all about politics and votes? Did Jime care if those who came under sustained attacks lost their PVCs while running from the marauding herdsmen? Does he care how they feed, clothe and find shelter now? “Was the invasion of Benue not an issue big enough for Barrister Jime to have called for a debate against enemies of the state?,” the governor queried. Governor Ortom said what the IDPs need to hear now, “is not a campaign slogan but the sound of school bells for their children; the sight of what to eat and what to wear.” He noted that: “The people need a blanket to cover their skins after many months in the cold of IDPs camps and not a banner promoting a candidate.”

“The affected people deserve the presence of medical personnel in their communities to heal bruises which they suffered while fleeing from invaders, not the presence of campaign jingoists,” he added. Governor Ortom stated that he will not be distracted by the attacks on his person and office from Senator Akume and Honourable Jime. “The people know who their true leaders are. The people also know those who have found them useful only now that the election season is here. “For Governor Ortom, Benue people are important before, during and after elections,” the statement concluded.

Meanwhile, a group of herdsmen have said that they would do all within their power to ensure that Ortom does not return as governor in the state. The Fulani Nationality Movement (FUNAM) an umbrella organization of herdsmen in the state vowed to mobilise its members across Nigeria to unseat Ortom in the coming 2019 general election. A statement signed by the national president of FUNAM, Salisu Ahmadu, said the group would rally support for any governorship candidate who would ensure their safety and protect their business interest in the state.

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