Benue State Governor, Mr Samuel Ortom, has called on Minister of Defence, Mr Mansur Dan-Ali, to apologise to Nigerians for demanding suspension of anti-grazing law in some states.
He said the minister should stop giving Nigerians the impression that he was spokesperson of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association.
Dan-Ali had on June 5, this year called for the suspension of anti-open grazing laws in Benue, Taraba and Ekiti states.
The governor spoke in Abuja on Tuesday at the unveiling of National Economic Council’s National Livestock Transformation Plan as part of efforts to end clashes between farmers and herdsmen.
He stated, “Honourable minister (Audu Ogbeh), just one thing, I’m part of this government and I appreciate what this government is doing, so since the honourable minister of defence is not a member of NEC and you are constantly in NEC and you are a member of Federal Executive Council where other ministers will be there. What you have said is very important, there should have been a level of caution.
“In a time like this, we should be sensitive to what is going on. When the young man was making his remarks, he was literally shaking and it is coming from the heart and that is how most Nigerians are. I wonder if the defence minister has had time to read the newspapers, he would have felt the feelings of Nigerians for him calling for the suspension of a legitimate law by various states.
“It is not good enough, it is casting the government in bad light and the minister of the Federal Republic should represent the interest of Nigerians. He should not be the mouthpiece of Miyetti Allah in a conflict involving Nigerians.”
Ortom stated that the defence minister should have left the issue to Ogbeh who is Minister of Agriculture.
He stated, “Coming from a security council meeting and making such statements, some people took it as the opinion of the security council. When he clarified that it was his personal opinion, it solved some problems. He needs to apologise to Nigerians.”
Ortom also said that there were over 180,000 internally displaced persons in eight camps in the state, adding that 500,000 people were living with relatives.
But Ogheh stated that the defence minister’s statement was his (Dan-Ali) personal opinion.