18th March, 2021
By Muhaimin Olowoporoku
Former Edo State governor, Adams Oshiomhole, has retracted statements he made in 2018 accusing Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State of murder.
Oshiomhole, also a former chairman of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in his retraction said he acted based on information he had which he has now found to be false and baseless.
During a media briefing in 2018, Oshiomhole said Ortom was involved in the murder of two Catholic priests.
The priests were killed alongside 17 parishioners by gunmen who attacked Ayar Mbalon village, Gwer East Local Government Area of Benue in April 2018.
The attack was one in a series of attacks that compelled Ortom to dump the APC for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
While reacting to Ortom’s defection then, Oshiomole accused the governor of worsening insecurity in the state and pointed fingers at him over the murder of the priests.
Ortom dragged the former Edo governor to court and demanded N10 billion for the libelous statement against him.
The case dragged on in court for a while with the defendant requesting out-of-court settlement.
Oshiomhole finally apologised today.
After apologising, Oshiomole described Ortom as a dear friend and brother with whom he had shared so much in common, including mutual respect.
Oshiomhole said: “I made certain comments about Dr. Ortom based on the information I have since found to be false and baseless.
“Ortom felt embarrassed, defamed, and deeply aggrieved by the comments I made at the said press conference, culminating in litigation.
“That politics aside, Governor Samuel Ortom is a dear friend and brother with whom I have shared so much in common, including mutual respect.
“As former colleagues and one-time members of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum and most importantly as someone whom I am just a phone call away from, any ridicule, embarrassment, spite, and insult caused Dr. Samuel Ortom is regretted.
“Owing to the relationship we share and in the larger interest of peace, harmony, and brotherliness, I believe a complete retraction of my comments made on 27th July 2018, and which Dr. Samuel Ortom found offensive is proper and necessary.
“In view of all the above, I hereby retract the comments made during the press conference on 27th July 2018, as it relates to Dr. Samuel Ortom.”