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Benue Killings: Oshiomhole Accuses Ortom of Playing up ‘Ethnic Dimension of Criminality



Barely two days after he failed to persuade Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom not to dump the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), the National Chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole, has criticised Ortom’s handling of Benue killings, accusing him of playing up ethnic dimension of criminality.

Ortom recently dumped the APC and returned to his former party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The governor said he was given a red card by the APC and that he acted in line with the interests and aspirations of the Benue people.

Addressing a press conference on Friday evening at APC national secretariat in Abuja, Oshiomhole, who had frantic attempts to prevent Ortom from dumping the party, alleged that the governor was found to be fraternising with the arrested criminals that murdered two priests of the Roman Catholic Church.The APC chairman also said investigations showed that criminals of the Christian faith killed the Catholic priests in Benue State and not the Fulani herdsmen as was alleged.

Oshiomhole said the reason the leadership of the party in Benue State gave Ortom red card was because the governor squandered over N20 billion without any development project to show for it.

“It is bad enough that any Nigeria was killed but it is worst when anyone tries to twist facts over the incident.

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“Governor Ortom played up the ethnic dimension of criminality, whereas in truth, some of those who have been killed were killed not by Muslims, they were killed by Christians of Benue State origin, including those he has employed.

“So, his attempt to explain away criminality by playing up ethnic sentiments is not helpful to what he should do as governor to manage the situation better,” he said.

The former Edo state governor also said that governor Ortom had reduced governance to Nollywood.

Speaking on his attempt to resolve the dispute in Benue State APC, Oshiomhole, who described Ortom as a comedian, said the peace efforts flopped because of the governor’s antics.

“So, I couldn’t assure governor Ortom that we will overrule the position of our members and leaders in Benue State, that come 2019 we will give him ticket. I wanted to simply crosscheck with him on the allegations made against him and he was to come by Wednesday, that is why he organised that drama.

“And that tells you the quality of reasoning. With all due respect to Governor Ortom, how can you reduce governance to Nollywood, saying he wanted to go to Abuja to meet with the National Working Committee but my people have blocked the road that I will not go?

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“When has it become a case that when a governor wants to travel it is on the radio that he is travelling and this is the purpose?”

Oshiomhole further attacked the integrity of the governor saying, “If a governor confessed that he shared government money to party leaders, is that the reasons he will be re-elected?

“Then if he has shared the government money with party leaders, then the party leaders should try to keep him in office by guaranteeing him the ticket since he shared the money with them.

“If on the other hand he claimed that he refused to share the money, good, therefore what have you done with the money? You couldn’t pay the workers salaries with the money you refused to share, have you built more roads for the people of Benue State? What have you accomplished with these bailout fund and the Paris fund?”