We’ll support Buhari on credible polls, says Ortom

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Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom has given assurances of support for steps being taken by President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure free and fair elections.

The governor however kicked against the President’s directive to the military and police to ruthlessly deal with would-be ballot box snatchers.

He said obeying such directive could amount to perpetrating extra-judicial killings.

Obeying such directive, the Governor cautioned, could attract prosecution by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

He urged the military to stick to the rules of engagement during the conduct of the elections.

Ortom, who spoke to newsmen in Abuja Tuesday, said, while he would not condone election rigging, due process must be followed in dealing with those that may be found breaking the law.

The governor said: “It is unfortunate that Nigeria is gradually drifting to a banana republic where the rule of law is not 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.

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“For me, I did not rig election to become governor. But the truth of the matter is that we have laws. And 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.

“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.”

He added: “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. And 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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