Yemi Osinbajo denies alert by governor Ortom on Benue’s mayhem
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has described as “a terrible falsehood” insinuations that he had a foreknowledge of the recent massacre by suspected herdsmen in Guma and Logo council areas of Benue State.
Specifically, Osinbajo yesterday said he was shocked by a news report ostensibly quoting Governor Samuel Ortom that he was warned ahead of the killings that took place on New Year day.
In a statement in Abuja by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, the Vice President said he, however, does not believe that the governor could ever have said so, noting that it would be a ‘terrible falsehood’ to suggest that he 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.”
The statement reads: “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 mobilise to resist the law.
“The Miyetti Allah had written to the Vice President on June 5, 2017 on the same law protesting several sections.
“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 are capable of undermining the peace…’
“The Vice President subsequently met with the governor, discussed the matter and the security situation in the state and then ordered law enforcement agencies to be on the alert to prevent any attacks or violence. This was in June 2017!”
He explained that in the said letter from the governor, there was no mention of any threat to any specific one of the 23 local councils in the state, “so the best the law enforcement agencies could do even then was to await information or intelligence of an imminent attack.”
“None came,” Osinbajo said, adding that since then he has held several meetings with the governor, including a visit to the state on September 6, 2017 at the behest of President Muhammadu Buhari during the tragic floods in the state.
It continued: “At all such meetings, the Vice President discussed the security situation of the state with the governor.
“Following that, the then Acting President convened a major national security retreat which was attended by all state governors, service chiefs and heads of security agencies. The retreat featured very detailed discussions on the herdsmen/ farmers’ clashes.
“To the best of our knowledge, neither Governor Ortom nor the Federal Government was aware of the imminence of the cowardly attack on Logo and Guma (local councils) on January 1, and therefore any suggestion that the President or the Vice President ignored the governor’s warning is both absolutely false and certainly misleading.”
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