Chris Steven, Abuja
The Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) on Saturday demanded that the country’s Minister of Defence, Mansur Mohammed Dan Ali, should seek redeployment to another ministry if he is not comfortable working with the current military service chiefs.
The umbrella body for political parties in the country said it was important that the Minister took this action of sending himself out of his current position as this is not the best time to politicise the security system of the country.
The conference in a statement issued in Abuja, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to graciously accede once the Defence Minister puts in such request.
The statement by CNPP’s Secretary-General, Willy Ezugwu, expressed concern that the minister’s meddlesomeness showed that there is an undeclared issue between him and the service chiefs and that such frosty relationship had been, in part, responsible for the poor response to the activities of Boko Haram in the past.
CNPP’s statement, which was apparently in reaction to the committee recently set up by the Minister, said: “The international cohesion of the military and the independence to rely on its own command structure has never been violated even during peacetime so it is alarming that a Minister of Defence will now deliberately take actions that can unsettle the situation at a time when troops are engaged in full blown war.
“While we recognise the constitutional provision that allows the President to delegate powers to ministers, what Alhaji Dan’Ali did is clearly beyond his approval limit and should only have come from Mr President directly.
“But for the Minister to have launched straight from inactivity into this destructive mode portrays grave dangers that can only be neutralised by his departure from the post.
“Mr President should not have any sentimental attachment to retaining him in that portfolio since he can be deployed to another ministry where he would be more comfortable and be able to meaningfully contribute to nation building.
“Mr President should consider swapping Alhaji Dan’Ali with the Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau, for greater efficiency.
“A further indicator that the incumbent defence minister may find another ministry more fulfilling is the limited intervention from him so far in shielding the military services from constant harassment from international NGOs in the course of carrying out their duties. He has also been, possibly unwittingly, making statements that tend to give powers to insurgents against the military operations,” the conference noted.
It however urged the military commands and service chiefs to overlook the minister’s shortcomings and continue to focus on the mission of stamping out terrorism from Nigeria.
The CNPP had last week described Senator Bukola Saraki and other government officials receiving double pay as wicked and insensitive to the country’s current financial situation.
The Senate president is one of 21 former governors and deputy government who are now members of the 8th Assembly and are receiving pensions as former governors and salaries as senators.