There was outrage on Tuesday amidst tension between the Nigerian police and the Benue state government after the public relations officer of the force, Jimoh Moshood, described Governor Samuel Ortom as a “drowning man”.
Moshood made this known during a live programmed monitored on Channels TV, in response to the demand of Ortom that the Inspector-General of police, Ibrahim Idris, should resign.
When he appeared before a senate committee on Friday, Idris had advised governors to suspend the anti-grazing law until ranches were put in place.
He had said the law worsened the violence between farmers and herdsmen.
In his reaction, Ortom, who was apparently not in any friendly mood, had asked Idris to resign if he was overwhelmed.
However, Mr. Moshood, during the breakfast television program, Sunrise Daily, aired on Channels Television, said:
“It is a great disservice to the inspector-general of police and the entire Nigeria Police Force for the governor to call for his resignation, the governor should resign first.”
“What he has said, the document presented to the senate is for action by the senate. And nobody can make any part or complete document public until the senate makes a decision on it and passes a resolution.
“And that is why we felt you don’t join issues with a drowning man,” he said in an apparent reference to the governor calling for the immediate resignation or sack of the IGP.
- Fayose slams police PRO for calling Benue Governor a “drowning man”
Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State has described the comment as an insult on all the governors in Nigeria, saying the police authority must retract the comment and tender an unreserved apology to Governor Ortom, the people of Benue State and the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF).
The governor said it was unfortunate, regrettable and a height of irresponsibility for the PPRO to have insulted a whole governor who represents one of the federating units in Nigeria, noting that “It is now clear that the police has turned itself to an organ of the All Progressives Congress (APC) government, acting as if its only duty is to protect the interests of President Muhammadu Buhari and his allies.”
- Makurdi-based Group Reacts
A Makurdi-based civil society group, #IstandWithOrtom, has demanded an apology from Moshood for describing Ortom as a “drowning man.”
In a statement signed by the Convener of the group, Iorliam Shija in Makurdi on Tuesday, the group said the remarks of the Force PPRO was “unprofessional and unfortunate.”
He said, “The #IstandWithOrtom group has found the comments of the Police Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood on Channels TV Morning Programme, Sun Rise Daily of Tuesday (yesterday), not only unprofessional but unfortunate.
“The police officer amongst other unprintable names, regarded to the Executive Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom as a “drowning man.
“We wish to condemn the police for such an ugly public show. As PPRO, Moshood is the face of the Nigerian police. So such public careless utterances, can further embolden the attackers of Benue to carryout more attacks against the state.”