The presidency has described the allegation by Governor Samuel Ortom against President Muhammadu Buhari regarding Fulani herdsmen as false.
A statement on Wednesday by the senior special assistant to the President on media and publicity, Garba Shehu challenged Ortom to reveal his source.
The reply from the presidency follows an allegation by the Benue State Governor in an interview published by ICIR on Monday that security operatives told him that the president directed them to leave killer herdsmen alone.
Ortom claimed that he received confidential information from top security personnel that the Buhari government had ordered them not to move against the killer herdsmen.
However, Shehu said Ortom’s statement could not be farther from the truth. He also challenged politicians and leaders to stop making careless statements that can aggravate the security situation in the country.
The presidential aide accused Ortom of playing dog whistle politics and seeking to cause division among Nigerians.
“In a recent interview, the governor of Benue state, Samuel Ortom, claimed that high ranking security personnel had informed him personally that President Buhari had ordered security forces not to move against the Fulani herdsmen responsible for recent violence,” Shehu said.
He added that if Ortom is not bold enough to name his source, he should shut up.
“These ridiculous claims are patently untrue. If he is as brave as he claims to be, let him name names. Let him name the military personnel who told him this story or forever shut up.
“It is disappointing that Ortom, who in the same interview describes himself as a child of God who believes in being lawful and respects the Nigerian constitution, felt the need to spread such a divisive lie.
“In a period of heightened insecurity, our politicians should be working to bring us closer together, not risking further violence by dishonestly seeking to further divide us along ethnic or religious lines.
“Fortunately, the cheap, dog whistle politics behind Ortom’s falsehood are plain for all to see. He is not the first opportunistic politician who has attempted to sow discord amongst his country’s people in the run-up to an election; sadly, he will not be the last,” Shehu added.