The National Broadcasting Commission on Thursday queried Channels Television over the “inciting, divisive and unfair comments” made by Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, on the TV’s ‘Sunrise Daily’ breakfast programme on Tuesday.
The development comes after the presidency condemned what it described as the ‘promotion of ethno-religious politics and divisive utterances’ by the governor.
Ortom had criticised the president's continued silence in the face of sporadic and wanton killings that are mostly perpetrated in the state by armed herders.
He lamented that hundreds of residents now live in Internally Displaced Camps across the state due to displacement and incessant attacks from armed bandits.
In a swift reaction to Ortom's interview on Channels TV, the presidency through a statement issued by Senior Special Assistant to the President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, lampooned the governor on Wednesday over what he termed ‘divisive utterances’.
The statement read in part: “Governor Samuel Ortom has few political principles. We can see this from the fact that he has changed political party five times during his undistinguished career.
“Every time he feels the wind may be blowing in a certain direction, he follows it.
“Unfortunately, for the good citizens of Benue State, the most dangerous direction he blows in today is that of sectarianism and ethnicity.
“In an attempt to boost his sinking political fortunes, Ortom takes the cheapest and lowest route possible by playing on ethnic themes – and in doing so knowingly causes deaths of innocent Nigerians by inciting farmers against herders, and Christians against Muslims.
“Specifically, Ortom stirs up hatred by targeting one single ethnic group in Nigeria – using language reminiscent of the Rwandan genocide.
“As was the case in Rwanda where the then Hutu leaders of the country incited their countrymen against each other, claiming there was a ‘secret Tutsi agenda’ over the Hutu.
“Ortom claims there is a ‘secret Fulanization agenda’ over other ethnic groups in his state and in Nigeria.
“This is a copy of the language of Hutu Power – which falsely, and intentionally, accused the Rwandan Tutsi of plans to dominate the country.
“This wicked talk is aimed at giving cover to his so-called ‘policy’ on the Ranches Establishment Law – which in reality is purely an act of denial of the law – intended to withhold rights and freedoms from one ethnic group alone, whilst inciting race hatred against them, amongst all others," he