The comment by the minister of defence, Mansur Dan-Ali that the gruesome attacks by herdsmen on some communities in Benue resulting in scores of deaths was a result of an anti-grazing law passed by that state’s legislative house, has continued to attract condemnation.
The Benue State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has described Dan-Ali as “a disgrace to democracy.”
“By this singular utterance, the Minister of Defence, Col. Muhammad Mansur Dan Ali (rtd) has inarguably displayed incontestable lack of the required sensibility and capacity to serve as Defence Minister in a country of over 180 million people with over 300 ethnic nationalities,” the state chairman of the APC, Abba Yaro, said while calling on the minister to resign.
“As an integral part of the country, Nigeria and as a State that gave President Muhammadu Buhari an edge in the 2015 general elections, we demand that Col. Mansur Dan Ali (rtd) resigns his position as Nigeria’s Defence Minister immediately and tender an unreserved apology to the good people of Benue State and the country at large.”
Why this matters
Just when the outrage which followed the FG’s perceived lack of empathy with Benue residents over the killings by herdsmen seemed to be subsiding, Dan-Ali made his unfortunate remarks on Thursday after a Security Council meeting.
Already, Gov. Samuel Ortom of Benue has condemned the minister, alleging that there is a conspiracy by some officials in the presidency who defend the herdsmen. Ortom said the federal government has basically granted immunity to herdsmen and cows.
The herdsmen killings do not show signs of abating and is emphasising the fault lines both in the ruling party and in the nation.
The Benue APC said Dan-Ali’s comment was a “flatly ridiculous absurdity and the highest level of public disgrace to democracy and the Nigerian populace.”
Silly Benue APC
The statement by the Benue APC was however marred by the party’s resort to partisanship in the end. It turned the statement into the standard APC-PDP bickering match and the politics of 2019 at a time when sobriety over the loss of lives and property should have been expected.
The party called on Dan-Ali to publicly explain to the party leadership why his “reckless utterances should not be considered as a deliberate ploy to truncate the party’s victory in the 2019 general election.
“Through his statement, as an insider, Dan-Ali appears to have been contracted by the opposition to work against the APC. Minister Mansur apparently is one of those who are working against the unity of Nigeria and must be stopped now before he and others with such parochial, hateful, divisive and repulsive tendencies plunge the country into deeper crisis.
“In as much as we would not dignify Col. Mansur with obnoxious affronts, we would again want to inform him that he is not just an ingrate, but an unrepentant pathological opportunist who was in his farm working for the PDP when many of us toiled the nooks and crannies of this country to ensure victory for President Muhammadu Buhari in the election that brought him (Buhari) to power through which he (Mansur) is one of the biggest beneficiaries.”