Some arsonists have reportedly set ablaze the residence of a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Benue State, Alhaji Abubakar Usman.
The politician, who is popularly known as Young Alhaji by the Otukpo people, confirmed the development to newsmen on Wednesday morning, Naija News understands.
According to him, the house located at GRA, Otukpo, was razed around 3:00 am today by unknown arsonists. Usman confirmed that the front section of the building, which housed the security post and auxiliary buildings, was affected most by the fire.
The fire incident, Naija News learned, was coming days after the one-time senatorial candidate of Benue South displayed a mock coffin with a condolence register of APC at the front of his house.
Usman’s act is said to have generated a series of reactions from party stakeholders who interpreted the coffin to mean the death of APC in the state.
However, Usman, while explaining the event after the fire incident, said the display of the coffin and condolence register was to express his displeasure with the leadership of APC in the state over the choice of the deputy governorship candidate he (Abubakar) and others opposed to.
In a telephone interview on Wednesday (today), Usman told The PUNCH that he personally placed the mock coffin to let the leadership of the party know that something is wrong with the party in the area.
“I kept the casket to show that our party APC is about to die and there is a need to save it. It is just a message,” Usman said.
He added: “Today is the fourth day the coffin was placed in front of my residence. I am the one that kept the coffin there. I did that because of the happenings in the party in my zone. I did that to show that if something is not done quickly, the party will call for oxygen.
“The crisis is over deputy governorship nomination which some people like John Ochoga, Simon Shango, and Tilley Gyado are insisting on Samuel Ode while I as the leader of the party in the zone is told that it should go to Apa/Agatu.”
When asked about his next line of action following the burning of his house, the APC chieftain said he was not leaving the party.
He said that he was not suspecting anybody over the fire incident, but that whoever has done it is not far from a member of his party in the zone.
He added, “They burnt down my security house. The police and DSS are aware. I and my workers put out the fire.”
The State Police Command, however, has not issued any official statement yet on the fire incident, Naija News understands.