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NASARAWA: Ortom denies involvement in bombings, demands apology from Sanusi

GOVERNOR Samuel Ortom, today, accused the former Emir of Kano, Lamido Sanusi, of sponsoring non-state actors to perpetrate violence in the state and other parts of the country.

The former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had during the week alleged that bombing incident that led to the killing of over 40 herdsmen in Doma local government area of Nasarawa State was orchestrated from Benue State.

However, the governor at a press conference held in Makurdi 24 hours later, claimed that some Fulani elites led by the former Emir were plotting to pin the bombing incident on him.

He added that 52 Fulani personalities including Sanusi had in a petition sent to President Muhammadu Buhari indicted him for the killing of herdsmen in the airstrike that rocked communities between Benue and Nasarawa States.

Sanusi later fired back in an interview on the BBC Hausa Service and insisted the airstrike emanated from Benue State.

He added that Ortom had in the past made anti-open grazing laws and set up a state militia to target the herders.

The governor, who reacted to Sanusi’s latest remark in a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Terver Akase, denied involvement in the incident and slammed the former CBN governor for profiling him for assassination.

He described the former emir as an “ethnic champion” who had over the years pretended to be a true nationalist.

Ortom also demanded an unreserved apology from Sanusi and charged him to direct his energy to the military which had been mentioned in the incident.

The statement read: “We read the text of an interview the dethroned Emir of Kano, Lamido Sanusi granted the BBC Hausa Service wherein he again leveled baseless and senseless allegations against Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom in continuation of the desperation to profile the governor and set him up for elimination.

“Sanusi’s latest shameful outing comes barely three days after he made a widely circulated video accusing Governor Ortom of being behind the reported bombing of a suspected terrorists’ hideout in Doma Local Government Area of Nasarawa State. The deposed Emir had also written a letter full of fury, bile and false allegations against the governor, which he (Sanusi) and 51 other Fulani elites signed and sent to President Muhammadu Buhari, apparently in a bid to have the backing of the President to execute their agenda against Governor Ortom and the Benue people in general.

“A man of Sanusi’s standing ought to have known that a state governor is not the commander-in-chief of the armed forces and could therefore not have ordered the reported bombing in Doma, Nasarawa State. Even if the governor has the constitutional right to request military involvement in any security situation, his power to do so ends in his state and does not extend to a neighboring state.

“We wonder how logical Sanusi’s claim is that Governor Ortom ordered the bomb incident in Nasarawa. Only a man who has lost touch with reality; is suffering from the negative impact of his fall from grace, or is yet to recover from the combination of both factors would make such an insensitive comment as the one attributed to the defrocked emir.

“His open support for Fulani pastoralists to disobey the law made by a state attests to the fact that Sanusi is indeed one of those sponsoring militia herders to perpetuate mayhem in Benue State and other parts of the country.

“As an erstwhile royal father, Sanusi is expected to be helping to build a united nation rather than channeling his energy towards profiling and setting a state governor up for elimination by his Fulani kinsmen.

“We are not surprised that he is leading those who are clandestinely justifying the killings in Benue State, because a man who betrayed the President under whom he served as head of the country’s apex bank won’t blink an eye setting on fire someone he barely knows but sees as an enemy. This hypocrisy of looking the other way when those killed are not of Fulani extraction as if their lives do not matter only goes to confirm Sanusi’s status as an ethnic champion adorned in a pretentious garb of a nationalist.

“We advise the deposed emir to desist from spitting on the graves of hundreds of Benue people who have fallen to the sword of his kinsmen. The thousands who have been living in internally displaced persons camps do not deserve insults being hurled at them by Sanusi and his nameless group of extremists.

“We expect the former emir to withdraw all the unguarded utterances he made against Governor Ortom and tender an unreserved apology as the Governor had no hand in the bombing in Nasarawa because it is beyond his powers to authorize such operations.

“We once again remind Sanusi that Governor Ortom was not responsible for his dethronement. He should face those who chased him out of his kingdom into the cold and allow Governor Ortom to lead Benue according to the extant laws of the country and legislations made by the Benue State House of Assembly such as the Open-Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law.

“Sanusi may also consider deploying his energy towards the military who have not denied being behind the air operations in Nasarawa State and spare the Governor’s name.”

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