The Presidency has challenged Gov. Samuel Ortom of Benue to name those military personnel who told him that President Muhammadu Buhari had ordered security forces not to move against criminal herdsmen.
Malam Garba Shehu, the President’s media aide, who challenged the governor in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja, described the claim as ridiculous and patently untrue.
He, however, asked Ortom to name the military personnel who told him this story or forever shut up.
The statement read in part: “In a recent interview, the Governor of Benue, Samuel Ortom, claimed that high ranking security personnel had informed him personally that President Buhari had ordered security forces not to move against the Fulani herdsmen responsible for recent violence.
”These ridiculous claims are patently untrue. If he is as brave as he claims to be, let him name names.
”Let him name the military personnel who told him this story or forever shut up.
”It is disappointing that Ortom, who in the same interview describes himself as a child of God who believes in being lawful and respects the Nigerian constitution, felt the need to spread such a divisive lie.”
According to Shehu, in a period of heightened insecurity, politicians should be working to bring the nation closer together, not risking further violence by ”dishonestly seeking” to further divide Nigerians along ethnic or religious lines”.
He said: ”Fortunately, the cheap, dog whistle politics behind Ortom’s falsehood are plain for all to see.
“He is not the first opportunistic politician who has attempted to sow discord amongst his country’s people in the run-up to an election; sadly, he will not be the last.
“The Nigerian people will see him for what he is: an opportunist flaunting his wares as the country prepares to elect its next president.
“A man fond of posing in military fatigue who expects the country to believe Nigeria’s top security personnel would share high-level confidential information with him.
”To be clear: they do not.”