Hope of a seamless funeral rites for Nigeria’s former Defence Minister, General Domkat Bali, who died on 5 December 2020, is fading by the day.
Some days ago, reports in the media had indicated that some kinsmen of the deceased in Tarok, where the deceased was the local ruler or Ponzhi were up in arms with a segment of elite from his home state of Plateau who were planning to bury him in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.
However, the controversies deepened on Friday with the kinsmen of late Bali vowing to resist alleged attempt by the military exclude them from the burial arrangement of the late General.
The kinsmen, led by the chairpersons of Langtang North and Langtang South, two local governments inhabited mostly by the Tarok people also vowed that they will not allow Bali who was not just a first class chief as Ponzhi Tarok, but also President Langtang Joint Traditional Council to be buried with the conduct of the necessary traditional rites.
Speaking at a press conference held at the palace of Ponzhi Tarok, Langtang North LG Chairman, Joshua Ubandoma Laven and Langtang South LG chairman, Nimchak Rims, urged the military not to disrespect the culture and tradition of the Tarok people.
The Local Government chairpersons said while the military can give the deceased all the honour he deserves as a former Army Chief of Staff, his kinsmen must also be allowed to perform all the necessary traditional rites of passage for him as a top traditional ruler.
They vowed to resist any plan to stop them from performing the traditional rites while appealing to state and federal government to intervene to avert trouble.
Ubandoma pointed further pointed out that the fact that the chief priests of Tarok land who do not “come out anyhow” came out in a large number from the hills and marched to the palace of the Ponzhi Taroh in protest against alleged plan to subvert their custom and tradition was indicative of the seriousness of the issue.
The priests also vowed to resist any attempt by the military to stop them from performing the necessary rite of passage in accordance with their customs and traditions for the late Bali.
The acting Ponzhi Tarok, who is also the Ponzhi Zinni, Nimnan Langnim, also emphasized that the military must respect the right of the kinsmen of the late Chief of Army Staff to carry out the necessary traditional rites for their late traditional ruler.