|Danjuma, Nigerian Army Logo|
Retired Lt. General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma has urged Nigerians to defend themselves from killers across the country instead of depending on the armed forces.
Danjuma, a former chief of army staff from 1976-1979, said this today in a live telecast programme of the 10th anniversary of the Taraba State University, Jalingo, as he also made a grave accusation against the armed forces, accusing them of providing cover and defending the killers.
“You must rise to protect yourselves from these people. If you depend on the armed forces for protection, you will all die one by one”, said a visibly angry Danjuma.
“The ethnic cleansing must stop now. Otherwise, Somalia will be a child’s play. I ask everyone of you to be on the alert and defend your country, defend your territory, defend your state because you have nowhere else to go.
“The armed forces are not neutral. They are conniving with the armed bandits that are killing people,” he said.
Danjuma described Taraba as a miniature Nigeria with beautiful cultures which the bandits were doing everything to destroy.
Taraba, the home state of the retired general, had witnessed, like the Middle Belt states of Plateau, Benue, Kogi, Nasarawa, clashes between herdsmen and farmers, leading to many deaths. Herdsmen alleged that about 800 of them were killed on the Mambilla Plateau, a charge the Taraba state government has denied.
There have also been the problems of banditry and cattle rustling in some North Western states, especially Zamfara, which President Muhammadu Buhari visited on Thursday. There he ordered the armed forces to stop the killings all over the country.
Across the country have been reports of either banditry, herdsmen killing farmers or their hosts and kidnapping.
Danjuma’s advice was that all Nigerians should protect themselves, rather than waiting for the armed forces alone to protect them.
Gov Darius Ishaku expressed joy over the growth of the university within a short time, and commended its founding fathers for their foresight.
“The institution has made it possible for many Taraba residents to access tertiary education,” he said, andpledged government’s support toward making it a model.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Army has reacted to the unfortunate statement made by General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma, during the convocation ceremony of the Taraba State University on Saturday where he categorically asserted that the Armed Forces of Nigeria was colluding with militias and other criminal elements and was unable to provide security for the citizens of Taraba State.
A statement signed by Director Army Public Relations
Brigadier General Texas Chukwu, said the Nigerian Army viewed the statement made by the former Chief of Army Staff as most unfortunate at this critical time that the military has embarked upon demilitarisation of the North Central Region of the Country.
It read, “While Nigerian Army would not want to join issues with the Elder Statesman, however, certain facts need to be clearly stated in the interest of the Taraba People and the Nigerian public.
“The Nigerian Army is constitutionally charged with the responsibility of defending the territorial integrity of Nigeria and to aid the civil authority whenever called upon to do so. In this light, the authorisation for the conduct of Ex AYEM AKPATUMA was authorised and troops deployed to curb menace of the herdsmen-farmers conflict and other criminal activities in the North Central Region amongst others.
“It is on record that the successes so far achieved in Ex AYEM AKPATUMA have been recognised and accepted by Nigerians.
“The public is notified that Nigerian Army personnel have had to pay the supreme price for ensuring the sustenance of security in Taraba State. For instance, a gallant non-commission officer of the Nigerian Army was beheaded on 16 March 2018 in Takum Taraba State by criminal elements.
“It is noteworthy to state that at the inception of Ex AYEM AKPATUMA, the Taraba State Government, did not cooperate with the Nigerian Army due to the Army’s stance to remain absolutely neutral in the herdsmen-farmers crisis. The Nigerian Army will continue to remain as such.
“For avoidance of doubt, the Nigerian Army advises the people of Taraba State and indeed all other Nigerians to continue in their day-to-day activities and be law abiding as anyone caught with arms and ammunition will be dealt with accordance with the laws of the land. Every law-abiding citizen is assured of equal protection and security of their lives and property irrespective of his/her person, the statement read.