Bauchi State Governor Bala Mohammed yesterday expressed shock that his Benue State counterpart, Samuel Ortom, could describe him as a terrorist because he expressed a contrary opinion over the lingering herdsmen crisis.
Mohammed said Ortom was taking his “well known” and “unfortunate theatrics” to a dangerous level by making “unfounded and grave allegations.”
The Bauchi governor said Ortom, at a press conference last Monday, among other things, described him as a terrorist, sponsoring those he described as “Fulani terrorist herdsmen.”
This followed the controversy caused by Mohammed’s recent comment that herdsmen carry AK-47 for self-defence, among others.
Ortom, Mohammed added, further alleged that he had received a death threat letter from the herdsmen and that Mohammed should be held responsible, if he was murdered.
But, in a statement through his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Mukhtar Gidado, Mohammed said though he had resolved not to join issues with Ortom, it would be irresponsible of him to ignore the “two unfortunate claims”.
He challenged Ortom to substantiate his claims that he was in cahoots with anybody to kill him.
Mohammed said it was natural for both of them to disagree, but that did not make them enemies or provide an alibi for allegations that border on extreme criminality.
The statement said: “We are therefore, shocked that Governor Ortom could, in good conscience, address a fellow governor whom he had described as a brother, as a terrorist and who should, to wit, be placed under watch should anything untoward happen to him (Ortom).
“We want to state that Governor Ortom has carried the unfortunate theatrics, for which he is well known, to a very precipitous level of brinkmanship.”
Mohammed, it added, conceded to Ortom the right to reply, but that “the Benue State governor has over-personalised the matter, thereby reducing the debate to a level of toxicity that is neither healthy for the country nor helpful to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).”
Also yesterday, Mohammed said he had no apology for his comment condemning the profiling of the Fulani ethnic group as a race of killers or kidnappers.
Speaking during the launch of the 2020/2021 annual livestock vaccination campaign, held at Galambi Cattle Ranch in Bauchi, Mr Mohammed said tagging a particular tribe with crime was unfair and breeds disunity.
He said: “We kicked against the profiling of the Fulani as killers and kidnappers; we have no apology for what we have done because what we have done is to say the truth; that there is no tribe or group that is free of criminality.’
‘’We are not saying that to spite anybody or spark unnecessary controversy, we have made our point. Nigerians across the board have discussed it and I am happy to say that from all indications, the majority of sensible Nigerians have appreciated what we have said and that is the point.”