Bauchi Governor Bala Mohammed has challenged his Benue counterpart Samuel Ortom to substantiate claim he is sponsoring terrorism.
Ortom had alleged Mohammed is a terrorist, sponsoring herdsmen.
He also alleged he had received a death threat from herdsmen, saying Mohammed should be held responsible if anything happens to him.
But in a statement on Wednesday by his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Mukhtar Gidado, Mohammed asked Ortom to provide evidence for his allegations.
The statement partly read: ” In our resolve to deescalate the tension that has gripped the country over the sacking of Fulani herdsmen from Ondo State, we had resolved not to join issues with any other person over the position of His Excellency, Governor Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed, CON, on the issue.
”However, while standing on that resolve, it will be irresponsible of us to ignore two unfortunate claims made by the Benue State Governor, Dr. Samuel Ortom, at a press conference last Monday. During the conference, Governor Ortom alleged, among other things, that:
”Governor Bala Mohammed is a terrorist, sponsoring those he described as Fulani terrorist herdsmen.”
”And he, Governor Ortom, had received a letter from Fulani herdsmen to the effect that they were going to kill him (Governor Ortom) and that Governor Bala Mohammed should be held responsible if he (Governor Ortom) dies”
”We are therefore shocked that Governor Ortom could, in good conscience, address a fellow Governor whom, he had described as a brother, as a terrorist and who should, to wit, be placed under watch should anything untoward happen to him (Ortom).
“We want to state that Governor Ortom has carried the unfortunate theatrics, for which he is well known, to a very precipitous level of brinkmanship.
”As a journalist and democrat, Governor Bala Mohammed, concedes to Governor Ortom the right to reply. However, through his unfounded and grave allegations, the Benue State Governor has over-personalised the matter, thereby reducing the debate to a level of toxicity that is neither healthy for the country nor helpful to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
”One of the main attractions of democracy is the freedom of speech which we relish very much in this country. That is why anybody can rise and make any allegation as they choose. However, as the legal dictum goes, he who alleges must prove.
“ So, if Governor Ortom is not playing to the gallery, we challenge him to substantiate his claim that Governor Bala Mohammed is in cahoots with anybody to kill the Benue State Governor.’’