Ortom asks Amaechi to prove allegations on Mbalom killings
‘Retract your comments, apologise to victims families’
Governor Samuel Ortom has asked the Minister of Transport, Chibuike Amaechi to prove his allegation on the killing of two priests and 17 other parishioners in Mbalom at the beginning of this year or retract his comments and tender a public apology to the families of the victims as well as the government and people of Benue State.
Ortom, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and ICT, Tahav Agerzua, yesterday said he watched with shock Amaechi alleging on Channels Television last Sunday that some Benue people were responsible for the killing of the two Catholic priests and 17 worshippers in Mbalom, Gwer East Local Government Area earlier this year.
The governor viewed the comments as clear and deliberate strategy being sponsored by the All Progressives Congress (APC)- led Federal Government to change the true narrative on the Benue killings in general and those in Mbalom in particular.
The governor, who recalled that the APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomole, had also made similar claims, both APC stalwarts, said investigations and interviews conducted by reputable media organizations revealed without any doubt that the killers were Fulani herdsmen militia who were out on a conquest and occupation agenda of the Benue Valley and other territories in Nigeria.
“Two of these media organizations, Al Jazeera and Television Continental, TVC, aired their findings on their respective stations on May 7 and August 20, 2018.
“These investigations and testimonies of the victims and witnesses debunk Amaechi’s statements regarding the murder of the Mbalom 19 parishioners and have not only portrayed Amaechi’s statement as false but also reckless, mindless and a shameful dance on the graves of the victims.
“But, with all curiosity, this is not the first time that a minister of the Federal Government has made mockery of Benue people with inflammatory statements bordering on herdsmen attacks and killings in the state,” Ortom said.
“Amaechi’s unguarded comments on the unfortunate incident in Mbalom bring to mind earlier statements made by Minister of Defence and Inspector General of Police who described the herdsmen invasion and killing of Benue people as a ‘mere communal clash,” he added.
Ortom said the minister apparently forgot that one of those accused of complicity in the Mbalom murder was recently released from detention without arraignment and any proof to link him (Ortom) with the murders.