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Governor Ortom Chides Presidency for criticising Bishop Kukah’s comment on insecurity, nepotism

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Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has advised the Nigerian government to stop “intimidating patriotic Nigerians who are raising genuine concerns over the worsening security and economic situation in the country”.

Mr. Ortom made the comment while chiding the Presidency for criticizing a recent address by the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Bishop Matthew Kukah to the United States Congress Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Mr. Kukah had in the virtual appearance before the American lawmakers a few weeks ago criticized President Muhammadu Buhari’s handling of insecurity in Nigeria. He also alleged that the President was nepotistic in key appointments and favoured Muslims over Christians.

“The whole of the North is being invaded by armed bandits that are launching attacks at will. The President has shown nepotism in his appointments as he is appointing only people that share the same religion with him into key political offices like the security Chiefs,” Daily Post newspaper reported the Catholic bishop as saying.

In its reaction, the presidency in a statement by presidential spokesperson Garba Shehu said Mr. Kukah was doing his “best to sow discord and strife among Nigerians.”

In the statement released last Sunday, Mr. Shehu accused Mr. Kukah of falsehood, saying attacks by armed men stand condemned but are not targeted at Christians.

Backing Bishop Kukah’s comment at the event, Governor Ortom in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase on Saturday noted that he would have said similar things if he were to address the same audience.

“The Governor wonders why the Presidency has chosen to politicize the views of Bishop Kukah when all the issues he highlighted in his address are facts about the country”, the statement read.

“He says Kukah was right when he stated that nepotism has been elevated above federal character by the present administration. He further agrees with the Bishop that Christians across the country are targets of elimination and thousands have already fallen to the sword of jihadist supremacists.”

Lopsided appointment

According to public records published by the ICIR, the Southeast and Southsouth have marginal representation in Buhari’s government, while the North takes majority appointments.

In June 2020, some Southern leaders dragged President Buhari before the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court over alleged marginalization in appointments made by his administration since 2015.

According to them, the present composition of the government of the federation, and most of its agencies especially as regards the composition of the security and quasi-security architecture does not reflect the Federal Character of Nigeria but rather there is a predominance of persons from a few states and sectional groups dominating the opportunities and threatening national unity and integration.

Similarly, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has repeatedly accused President Buhari of unduly favouring Muslims from Northern Nigeria in federal appointments.


Governor Ortom in the statement noted that Kukah is not to be blamed for the ranking of Nigeria as the 8th least peaceful country in Africa and the rating of killer herdsmen as the 4th deadliest terror group in the world by the Global Terrorism Index.

He said he expects the Presidency to rather be worried that Nigeria is ranked as the most terrorized nation in Africa with an average of over 2,000 deaths per year on account of terrorism.

The governor stressed that the combative approach the Presidency has adopted in engaging citizens on issues will not solve the problems confronting the country.

This is not the first time the president has criticized Bishop Kukah on critical issues affecting Nigeria.

The Nigerian presidency had lashed on Bishop Kukah for criticizing the grave security situation in Nigeria in his easter message.

The daily realities in Nigeria recently has proven that the victory claims on insecurity by the Buhari-led administration in the past and present are largely exaggerated.

Virtually all parts of Nigeria are currently battling one form or another of violent crimes.

The Global Terrorism Index (2019) ranked Nigeria as the third-worst nation prone to terrorism with no improvement since 2017.

At least 1,603 people were killed in violent attacks across Nigeria between January and March 2021, the report by Nigeria Mourns, titled “Violent Incidents Report: January – March 2021″ showed.

Kidnappers abducted at least 2,371 people across Nigeria in the first half of 2021, according to research from SBM Intelligence, a consultancy in the commercial capital, Lagos. That averages out to about 13 people per day.

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