CRISIS between Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom, and his Plateaus State counterpart, Simon Lalong, has taken a fresh dimension with the former warning the latter to stop interfering in Benue affairs.
Speaking at a stakeholders meeting with the National Economic Council, NEC, technical committee on herdsmen/farmers crises led by Ebonyi State governor, David Umahi, in Makurdi yesterday, Ortom told Lalong’s representative: “Please tell your boss when you see him to stop interfering with affairs in my state; let him mind his business in Plateau and I will mind my own business here.”
The meeting, which commenced Sunday night at the new banquet hall of Government House, Makurdi, dragged to early hours of Monday morning.
The governor told the audience that his deputy, Benson Abounu, had met Lalong at a function outside the state recently where Lalong said he still stood by his statement, insisting that he had warned him (Ortom) to desist from the anti-open grazing law he implemented in Benue.
“My deputy told me that he had a discussion with Lalong recently at a function, where he said that he had to apologise to me over his statement because of pressure on him, saying he stands by his earlier statement.
“He also told people that he introduced this Kemya woman in this committee to me, whereas this woman was introduced to me by Nasir El Rufai, not him,” Governor Ortom disclosed.
He further pointed: “I’m the governor here (Benue); how can he say that he warned me? Who is he to warn me? He can only advise me.”
It would be recalled that Governor Lalong at the peak of the herdsmen attacks on Benue State told newsmen in Abuja that he warned Governor Ortom against the enactment of the anti-open grazing law.
Chairman of the state Traditional Rulers Council and Tor Tive, Professor James Ayatse, who spoke at the meeting, raised serious concern about the credibility of the committee since some of its members had taken position on the crisis.
“I have a concern here. Governors of Plateau and Kaduna States, Lalong and El Rufai had made serious statements concerning the crisis; how do we get justice?
“With pains, a delegation from Benue visited President Buhari and the only consolation he could give us was to say, ‘in the name of God, accommodate your fellow countrymen.’ with this statement, how will my people get justice? This is my concern,” the Tor Tive bewailed.
Other speakers at the meeting included Catholic Bishop of Makudi Diocese, Bishop Wilfred Anagbe, former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mike Aondoaka, and former commissioner in the state, Mrs Rebecca Akpedzan.
Others included president general, Mdzough U Tiv, Cheif Edward Ujege, Benard Hon (SAN), and state chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Rev Akpen Negua.
They all condemned the lackluster attitude of the federal government to the crisis and insisted that there was no going back on the law.

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