Ortom Chides Islamic Group Over Comments

- George Okoh in Makurdi

Benue State Government yesterday took a swipe at the Jamat'atu Nasir Islam(JNI)/over its recent comment that the Benue State governor was attributin­g the spate of herdsmen killing to the late Usman Danfodio's Jihad.

In the press statement issued by the governor's Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase, it stated that instead of the JNI accusing him, it should rather blame the leadership of Miyeiti Ala Kauta Hore.

While describing the statement by JNI Secretary General, Dr. Abubakar Khalid Aliyu as inappropri­ate and attempt to instigate religious hatred against him, the governor said that he was only reacting to the specific questions and that he quoted the threats by leaders of Fulani Nationalit­y Movement, FUNAM, Miyeiti Ala Kautal Hore and Miyeiti Ala Cattle Herders Associatio­n who had claimed that the attacks on Benue was a Jihad and struggle for control of natural resources in the state.

Ortom said that the impression being created by the organisati­on that he (Ortom) attacked the leadership of Nigerian Muslims in his comments was misleading and a deliberate attempt to cast the him in bad light before Muslims in the country.

Governor Ortom cited.various statements and video clips to buttress that such statements were made by leadership of the various associatio­n and reiterated his call for the arrest of the leadership of the groups to prevent further killings in the state.

The governor said he has enormous respect for the leadership of Jama'atul Nasir Islam and all other Nigerian Muslims and would not have launched an attack on the religion.

"We reject and condemn this negative branding of the Governor by JNI."

He explained that his administra­tion embraced and encouraged all religious groups in the state especially the Muslim community as evident in the cordial relationsh­ip between his administra­tion and leadership of the Islamic faith.

"It is therefore strange that the headquarte­rs of Jama'atul Nasir Islam has chosen to assault the Governor's reputation on a matter which has verifiable evidence unconnecte­d with him."

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