Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State has challenged his Benue State counterpart, Samuel Ortom, to provide proof to justify his claim that he (Mohammed) is in cahoots with anybody to kill him (Ortom).
Mohammed added that though they were members of the same political party, he (Mohammed) did not have time to take issues with Ortom.
The Bauchi governor, who has come under fire for encouraging Fulani herdsmen to carry weapons, including AK-47 rifles but who later recanted his statement, said these in a release by Mukhtar Gidado, his Senior Special Assistant on Media.
The governor said, “As the legal dictum goes, he who alleges must prove. So, if Governor Ortom is not playing to the gallery, we challenge him to substantiate his claim that Governor Bala Mohammed is in cahoots with anybody to kill the Benue State Governor.
“No doubt, the fact that people, even governors can disagree vehemently on issues, does not make them enemies or provide an alibi for allegations that border on extreme criminality. 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.
“We vehemently protest this recourse to criminalising Governor Bala just for the simple reason that he holds a contrary view with his Benue State counterpart. Since Governor Ortom says that Governor Bala Mohammed is his brother, should we then say he is the brother of a terrorist? Should Governor Ortom, as the self-professed brother of a 'terrorist', also be placed under watch, lest he carried out terrorist attacks on others?
“As a matter of fact, Governor Bala is so preoccupied with his administration’s resolve to lift Bauchi indigenes and residents from poverty to prosperity that, he has little or no time for brickbats with members of his political family of which his brother, Governor Samuel Ortom is a respected member of the Peoples Democratic Party,”
Ortom had on Monday said Mohammed should be held responsible if he (Ortom) is assassinated.
Ortom also urged his Bauchi counterpart to apologise to Nigerians over his recent comments.
Ortom, at a press conference in Makurdi, the state capital, said it is disheartening to hear the Bauchi governor defend foreign armed herders who have “killed many Nigerians and inflicted pains on several communities across the country”.