Senator Akume, with President Buhari

Senator George Akume, the leader of the All Progressives Congress in Benue State has accused the state government of spreading fake news against the Buhari administration to achieve cheap political gains.

Akume, who had audience with President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday in Abuja said the people of Benue were tired of the misinformation.

Akume, who represents North-West Senatorial zone of Benue, expressed the view when he fielded questions from State House correspondents after a closed door meeting with President Buhari at the Presidential Villa.

The senator condemned the activities of the Benue State Livestock Guards and alleged that they had been responsible for the farmers/herders clashes in the state.

“When you talk about herdsmen and farmers clash, it’s a story that belongs to the past. Have you heard of farmers/herders clashes in Benue again? No. We know those who were behind that. Government was behind that.

“I am talking about the state government through the Livestock Guards. They knew what was going on. So it is now a thing of the past.

“And as for (Gov. Samuel Ortom), certainly he knows that there is fraud on the payroll. I have been in government before, everything that is going there is fraudulent in Benue State and the people are simply tired on this misinformation that they have been receiving. The narrative has changed.

“It is not question of herdsmen; we are not talking about religious and ethnic bigotry. We are talking about performance of government.

“If you cannot pay salaries, if you cannot pay pensions, if you cannot pay gratuity, what are you doing there? If you cannot provide infrastructure, what are you doing there, what is the basic purpose of government? It is the welfare of the people, security for the people.

Buhari greets other Benue leaders. Behind Buhari is Adams Oshiomhole, APC chairman

“If you say your slogan is my people first and we are telling you `no’ my people last because you are chopping their money. So, it is not my people first, it is my pocket first in Benue State.’’

Akume said he led “a very special’’ delegation of leaders and stakeholders of the APC Benue State to the president.

He explained that the delegation was in the Villa to show solidarity to the president and to renew their total sense of involvement and commitment to his re-election.

According to him, Buhari has worked so tirelessly to turn around the fortunes of the country and deserves to be supported by all well-meaning Nigerians.

He said: “this has nothing to do with politics.

“I am from the APC family but the truth is that, within three and a half years, what has been achieved under this government is monumental.

“You cannot compare this with what we witnessed in the last administration which we always refer to as the Lancia regime.

“Those of you who speak French will know the implication of referring to a government as Lancia regime.

“Be it in the area of infrastructure you can see what is going on, in the rail transportation, yesterday (Thursday), we were in Keffi to flag off the Keffi-Akwanga-Lafia-Makurdi axis of dualisation of that road.

“This is something that has been on the drawing board since 1999 when the PDP came to power. If you look at the performance of this government against the backdrop of what happened in the area of power, again you will give kudos to this administration.

“I recall that in 2005 contracts were awarded for the purpose of increasing the power generation in the country. We were told and we believed because we all supplied money – the local governments, states and federal, pooled resources to ensure the increase in the power output in this country.

“And by the calculation of government of the day, by the end of 2007, 6,000 megawatts of power would have been added to the national grid. My God, by the end of May 2015, we were still hovering between 3,000 and 5,000 megawatts. But today, the story is now different.’’

The senator also observed that the Buhari administration had done well in the on-going crusade against Boko Haram insurgency.

He said the government had initiated many programmes in various sectors of the economy meant to uplift the quality of lives of all citizens.

“Look at agriculture, so many initiatives in that area. So when you look at this cumulatively, you will know that this government is working, three and a half years and the results are spectacular compared to what we witnessed in the past 16 years of the PDP administration and they are coming back again, they want to take over.

“Let’s be honest, they have no message. If people could share 2.5 billion dollars meant to buy arms and ammunition, then of course those people do not deserve to see this place again,’’ he added.

The governorship candidate of the APC in the state, Emmanuel Jime, who was part of the delegation, pledged to address the challenges facing Benue, particularly insecurity in the state, if elected in 2019.