The Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of appointing ‘repentant’ Boko Haram terrorists into key federal offices.
According to Ortom, these actions by the Nigerian government, led by President Muhammadu Buhari, have made fighting terrorism difficult in the country.
He also criticised the integration of repentant terrorists into the Nigerian Army and the inability of the government to charge alleged killer Fulani herdsmen to court.
The governor made the remark during a visit by a delegation from the United Kingdom Parliaments All-Party Parliamentary Group on Freedom of Religion and Beliefs to the Governor’s Lodge in Abuja on Wednesday.
In a statement released by his Chief Press Secretary, Nathaniel Ikyur reads below;
“The Governor stated that being a multi-religious and (multi-)ethnic country, the Federal Government, which is saddled with the responsibility of ensuring that the rights of the people as enshrined in the constitution are protected, ought to take the task more seriously than it is currently doing.
“According to Governor Ortom, the inability of the Federal Government to act swiftly to tame the rise of terror attacks on communities in the country for many years now by Islamic extremists with the sole aim of taking over the country must be put to an end.
“He alleged that the current appointment of suspected Boko Haram supporters into key federal offices, integration of repentant members of the sect into the military and failure of government to arrest and prosecute terrorist herdsmen have also proven the complicity of government.
“He noted that for the sake of national unity, cohesion, peaceful coexistence and promotion of development, the rights of the people to freedom of religion must also be respected by the Nigerian State, hence the need for the international community to intervene by putting pressure on the government to do the right thing.
“Governor Ortom also told the visiting Parliamentarians that due to the activities of these terrorist groups, over 1.5 million people have been displaced from their ancestral lands and properties worth billions of naira destroyed in Benue State as a result of the invasion.
“He recommended that there was a need for rehabilitation and return of IDPs to their ancestral homes as well as payment of full compensation to victims.”
The leader of the delegation and member of Parliament from Ireland, Mr. Jim Shannon, reportedly thanked Ortom for availing the delegation with a comprehensive insight into the issues, assuring that they would present his case to the right department back home to get positive results.
In their separate comments, Brendan O’Hara of the House of Commons and Rachel Miner, acknowledged that the religious crisis in Nigeria was getting worse.
They, however, promised to continue to talk to government, religious and civil society leaders to effect the desired change, the statement said.
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