The blame trade game has begun between the presidency and the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom over the brutal killing of people in the state by Fulani herdsmen.

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo on Monday said he was shocked by media reports that quoted the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, as saying that he (Osinbajo) was warned ahead of the January 1 killings in Logo and Guma Local Government areas of the state.

In a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, the Vice-President described as “a terrible falsehood” to suggest that he was ever informed by the governor or any one else of the killings.

The statement read, “Governor Ortom wrote to the Vice President, then Acting President on 7th June 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 the 5th of June 2017 on the same law protesting several sections of the law.

“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…’

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“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!”

The statement noted that in the said letter written by the governor, there was no mention of any threat to any specific one of the 23 local governments of Benue State.

At all the meetings, according to the statement, the Vice-President discussed the security situation of the state with the governor.

It noted that the then Acting President also convened a major national security retreat which was attended by all state governors, service chiefs and heads of security agencies.

It added that the retreat featured 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 on the 1st of January, and therefore any suggestion that the President or the Vice President ignored the state governor’s warning is both absolutely false and certainly misleading,” the statement concluded.

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