Samuel Ortom, governor of Benue, says President Muhammadu Buhari is not responsible for the killings in his state.
Speaking with journalists on Tuesday, Ortom said the farmers-herders crisis predates the current administration and it would be a fallacy to link the president to it.
The governor said there are responsible herdsmen in Benue who are law-abiding.
“Buhari will definitely come here for campaigns, I cannot preempt what he will say or what Benue people will say. But as you know in politics, there are no permanent enemies or permanent friends but permanent interest,” he said.
“If President Buhari’s interest is in tandem with the interest of the people of Benue and he asks them for their vote, they will vote him likewise my own, if my interest is also in tandem with the wishes of the people they will vote for me.
“But one thing I want you to know is that the herdsmen-farmers clashes predates this government, so it will be a fallacy to conclude that herdsmen killings in the state is linked to President Buhari.
“That the herdsmen are killing Benue people does not mean it is Buhari who is responsible. There are still reasonable herdsmen who still live here in peace with their neighbours.”
Ortom said the “real enemy” is Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore.
“They are the ones we hold responsible because they addressed the media and stood up against our anti-open grazing law,” he said.
“They vowed to resist the law and they went ahead to do it. They are a violent group, we know them and we are holding them responsible.”