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FG planning to cage Ortom with flight ban, says aide

Terver Akase, spokesman of Samuel Ortom, governor of Benue state, has alleged that the federal government is planning to cage his principal with a flight ban.

Akase said this one day after Ortom alleged that herdsmen are plotting to kill him.

In an interview with TheCable, the governor’s spokesman alleged that the federal government had banned all private and chartered flights to and from Makurdi, Benue state capital, making it impossible for Ortom to fly if he intends to abandon the roads.

“The governor has been getting such threats that there is a plan to ambush him along the Makurdi-Lafia road, disarm or kill his security men, and abduct him into the bush and finish him there,” Akase said.

“The governor has such fears, and to confirm the fears is the federal government’s circular, directing the ban on all private flights, and all chartered flights to and from Makurdi. That is to make it impossible for him to take flight if he intends to abandon the roads.

“We suspect it is a target on him because it has never happened before. Private flights have never been banned in the Makurdi airport before. It is a military airport but other people use it, private individuals use it.

“We are made to know that the ban is strictly on the Makurdi route, on Makurdi Airport that chartered flights and private flights shouldn’t land in Makurdi. We suspect it is a plan to cage him and prevent him from not using air routes out of the state.”

Akase asked Nigerians to mount pressure on the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to stop “intimidating” Ortom.

“He is a law abiding citizen of this country and he believes in conventional means of resolving issues. That’s why we’re calling on the federal government and other Nigerians of good will to prevail on the relevant authorities to stop harassment of governor Ortom,” he said.

“He has had enough of this harassment. He is a governor of the people for goodness sake. He has a right to lead his people without harassment. We are asking Nigerians to prevail on those tormenting Governor Ortom to leave him alone.”

The governor had alleged that the current administration singled him out for persecution because he dumped the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), an allegation the government has denied.