Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom asked the Federal Government not to muzzle patriotic Nigerians who raise genuine concerns over the worsening security situation in the country.
In a statement issued on Wednesday by his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase, Governor Ortom described as unfair and repressive the Federal Government’s reaction to the message of the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Bishop Matthew Kukah.
Reacting to the government’s accusation that the cleric was stirring hatred against President Muhammadu Buhari and calling for a coup, Ortom asked the Federal Government to “address the worrisome security situation and other problems confronting the country.”
For the Benue governor, “Bishop Kukah is a selfless Nigerian who only seeks to unite the nation and speaks his mind frankly on national issues calling on the government to serve the people.”
“The renowned Bishop is not the first to call on the leadership of the country to strengthen security agencies and be proactive in combating the wave of violence and killings in parts of the country.
“Many other Nigerians have been making the same call on a daily basis. He was not the first to suggest that the President should be the father of all and not of only a section of the country or a particular ethnic group.”
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The governor advised that instead of politicizing the views of Bishop Kukah and castigating him, the Federal Government should take a second look at the things he raised in the Christmas Day message to avoid throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
Governor Ortom noted that Nigeria is practicing democracy which guarantees the freedom of speech to all citizens and not a military regime that suppresses the right of the people to voice their opinions on challenges facing their country.
“The Bishop’s statement is a true reflection of the current situation in Nigeria and urges President Muhammadu Buhari not to listen to sycophants who may tell him that everything is well with the country. All is not well,” he added.
Ortom’s response comes five days after Bishop Kukah said President Buhari’s government owes Nigerians an explanation over the killings of innocent people in the country.
In his Christmas message titled, ‘A Nation in Search of Vindication,’ Bishop Kukah said Nigeria appeared to be heading for darkness under his administration.