*SO YOU’RE STILL ALIVE, ORTOM REPLIES
Political gladiators in Benue State have practically gone for each other’s jugular, as passion, angst and tempers reach fever pitch over recent high profile killings in the state.
Sort of accusing the state Governor, Chief Samuel Ortom of sponsoring the killings, oppositions in the state blame him for looking the other way, whilst blood soaked the land, with former Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Abubakar Tsav, upping the ante by profiling the governor in with the strongest of labels.
Tsav, on Monday dismissed the governor as not only a liar, but highly incompetent and weak to govern the state.
Apparently incensed by the reaction of the governor, to his (Tsav’s) earlier criticism of his (Ortom’s) handling of security matters in the state, where the governor blamed him for keeping quiet over a similar situations in the past, the former Lagos police boss, practically let loose his canons.
In reaction to the brutal murder of Second Republic lawmaker and chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, Chief Atoza Ihindan, last week, Tsav had criticised Ortom for poorly handling security matters in the state.
His concerns had been echoed by the immediate past Minister of Interior, Comrade Abba Moro, who accused the All Progressives Congress of not only sponsoring the killings, but targeting PDP in the state.
Tsav, who had also questioned amongst other things why the killings were targeted only on PDP and happening majorly in an area that produced both the governor’s Chief Security Officer (CSO) Government House and Special Adviser on Security, had urged Ortom to take the issues more seriously.
But the ex-police boss’ seeming concern and advice, appeared to have angered the governor, whom in a sharp riposte, lashed out at him.
The governor, while wondering whether the retired police boss “was still alive and still had his mouth” questioned where he was when some unresolved murders were committed during the immediate past era of Gabriel Suswam.
By that, the governor appeared to have practically poured fuel into a fire, as Tsav, now a known anti-corruption crusader descended on him with all imaginable invectives.
Hear him: “What I said was that within a month, about 20 people have been assassinated within the same axis. This is worrisome.
“If, with all the meetings the governor allegedly held with security agencies and other stakeholders, coupled with the appointment of Security Adviser/Officer from the same murderous axis, these senseless killings continued to happen, and considering the fact that he is only about three months in office, his meetings and security appointments are of no effect.
“I think the governor is weak, incompetent and desperately partisan. Why don’t we have such killings in Idoma land and why are the victims mostly PDP supporters? The Governor is a liar and believes in lying.”
Moro, who was also visibly worried over the claim that about 20 PDP stalwarts had been killed since the last general election, which climaxed with that of Ihindan, who was shot dead by unknown gunmen in Katsina-Ala, last Friday, told reporters in Makurdi, on Monday that the Federal Government must act fast to intervene and bring the culprits to book.
“Elder Atoza Hindan was assassinated by someone on a motor cycle, and we believe it is politically motivated.
“Some high-profile PDP members have been killed, and this could be motivated by the recent case in court. This is unacceptable, and everything should be done to bring perpetrators to justice,” the ex-minister said.
According to Moro, before now, the killings that were normally recorded in the state, were between farmers and herders lamenting that the story had since changed.
Stating that the situation which was worsening with every unsolved case, had thrown the citizens, particularly members of the party, into a heightening state of panic, Moro added: “We can only conclude that it was politically motivated because of the circumstances that surrounded it.”
Also joining in the fray, the PDP, in a statement, signed by its Publicity Secretary, Hon. Godwin Ayihe, expressed worries that the killing of the party chieftain had added to the number of killings of its members in the state since after the change of government through the electoral process, which saw the party assume the status of the opposition.
The statement further deemed it unacceptable that the perpetrators of the killings were particularly targeting its members, accusing the security agencies of failing to stop the killings or bringing anyone to justice for the crimes.
While urging them to rise up to the situation to safeguard the lives and properties of citizens of the state, the party also called on the governor to take deliberate steps to tackle the security situation.