Disobey Buhari, Don’t Shoot Ballot Box Snatchers – Ortom Tells Security Agencies

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The Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, has charged the nation’s security agencies to disregard President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive to be “ruthless” with ballot box snatchers during the rescheduled general election.

At a briefing in Abuja on Tuesday, Ortom noted that obeying such an instruction will lead to extrajudicial killing, which can be tried at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The governor said that it was unfortunate that the military was being taken away from its constitutional responsibility of protecting Nigeria’s territorial integrity of the nation and being used to meddle in election matters.

The Benue governor, who condemned ballot box snatching, however said that violaters must be treated within the ambit of the law.

Ortom said, “It is unfortunate that Nigeria is gradually drifting to a banana republic where no rule of law is respected and observed. A government that was elected democratically is gradually turning into a dictatorship.

“It is unfortunate for our own President to come out and disregard the provisions of the laws of the land and give orders for extra-judicial killings in the state and torture against innocent Nigerians.

“Let me say unequivocally that I am completely against the rigging of any form by any political party. It is wrong and we do not need that. For me, I did not rig election to become governor. But the truth of the matter is that we have laws. I expect that Mr. President who is the chief custodian of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria should protect our constitution and the laws of the land. It is unfortunate that Mr President gave that order.

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“I was just reading from the social media the reaction of the military that they are going to obey the directives of Mr President to the letter. It is unfortunate. This cannot stand, this cannot hold.

“I want to advise those who are in the military, police and the other security agencies that they should know that they are also Nigerians. Today, they are serving the public; tomorrow they will not be there. Maybe some of them will become politicians like some of us are.

“It has happened in the past and it will happen again. I also want to remind them that the day of reckoning will definitely come when they will be alone to give account of their stewardship.

“So, I want to advise them to respect the rules of engagement based on the laws of the land. No matter the directives of Mr President.

“The Police, Army, DSS and all other security agencies should be professional rather than taking arbitrary directives. This is not correct. In a democratic set up, things must be done rightly.”

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John is a University of Lagos-trained journalist who has read almost every novel written by Chinua Achebe, Jeffrey Archer and Dan Brown. He's an expert Scrabble and draughts player who is also excellent at swimming.
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