Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom has told former Vice President Atiku Abubakar that people of the state are not happy with him for abandoning them when terrorists wreaked havoc in the state.
Ortom’s remarks come as the former vice president donated the sum of N50 million for the upkeep of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the state.
Governor Ortom who spoke in Makurdi, the state capital when he received Atiku and his campaign team, declared that as the holder of one of the highest chieftaincy titles in Tiv land, the ‘Zege Mule U Tiv,’ meaning the “Big Shelter of the Tiv Nation”, the people were disappointed that the presidential aspirant didn’t visit the state or send relief materials when it came under siege by the militia herdsmen.
He said, “Your visit to Benue as the ‘Zege Mule U Tiv’ is long overdue. But it’s better late than never. You are in your home and we are happy to receive you. But let me say here that our people were not happy that you didn’t visit when terrorist groups were attacking and killing people in Benue.”
The governor however cleared the misconceptions that he referred to indigenous Fulani who he said had lived with the people of the state as terrorists.
He lamented that terrorist groups from foreign countries including Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore and Fulani Nationality Movement (FUNAM) were still terrorising the state without the federal government’s intervention.
In his response, Atiku said he was unable to visit the state in its trying times because he was out of the country for further studies.
He said he had issues with the way the entire Fulani race was profiled in the course of the crisis as violent people but admitted that he had reconciled with Governor Ortom for the clarifications he had given.
While answering questions from reporters, Atiku dismissed insinuations that he was silent during the crisis because according to him, he had issued a number of press statements while overseas condemning the invasion.