Governor Samuel Ortom on Monday bemoaned the perennial displacement of residents across Benue, saying the plight of people living in camps for the internally displaced has been giving him erectile dysfunction.
At a public function near the capital Makurdi, Mr Ortom said President Muhammadu Buhari and special duties minister George Akume have failed to support him in his fight against killer herdsmen, working against the interest of Benue people instead.
Mr Ortom said there was “no way as a leader” would he feel comfortable knowing that thousands of his people have been displaced from their villages by killer herdsmen who were on a conquest to take lands from indigenous Benue settlers.
“Even when I am on top of my wife and I remember the people who are in IDP camps…” Mr Ortom said with a pause for camera effect. A male voice in the audience then helped him to conclude his sentence, saying “It goes flat,” to which the governor then responded with a smile.
Mr Ortom has been locked in fierce political confrontation with Mr Buhari and his appointees following his decision to implement a ban on open grazing of cattle by herders of Mr Buhari’s ethnic Fulani stock.
The president has insisted that he would not support a ban on open grazing and tried to force states to bow to the federal government on the appropriation solution to the crisis, which has left thousands killed and untold damage caused to assets and livelihoods since Mr Buhari assumed office in 2015.
The president has faced criticism for pushing the interest of herdsmen while showing little sympathy to victims of their brutality, including from members of his ruling APC. He has vigorously denied the claims and said his administration has implemented a series of security, administrative and financial solutions to mitigate the crisis.