FORMER Minister of Defence, Lieutenant-General Theophilus Danjuma has called on Nigerians to rise up and defend themselves against killer herdsmen, accusing the Armed forces of colluding with the herdsmen on an ethnic cleansing agenda.
Danjuma stated this at the maiden convocation ceremony of Taraba State University, Jalingo, where he was presented with an honorary Doctorate of Science Degree.
Danjuma, who chairs the Presidential Committee on Northeast Initiative (PCNI), accused the military of providing cover for killer herdsmen while they unleashed terror on communities across the country.
He called on the people to rise up and defend themselves as relying on the armed forces to defend them was suicidal.
The war veteran warned that if the ethnic cleansing did not stop in the country, the situation in Somalia would be a child’s play.
“In this state [Taraba] and of course in all the riverine states of Nigeria, we must stop it. Every one of us must rise up. The Armed Forces are not neutral. They collude with the bandits that kill people, kill Nigerians. They facilitate their movement. They cover them.
“If you are depending on the Armed Forces to stop the killings, you will all die one by one. This ethnic cleansing must stop in Taraba State and in all the states of Nigeria. Otherwise, Somalia will be a child’s play.
“I ask every one of us to be alert and defend your country, defend your territories and defend your states. You have nowhere else to go. God bless our country,” he said.
Danjuma said that “Taraba is a miniature Nigeria with diverse ethnic and cultural heritage that the armed bandits are trying to bring to ruins,” charging the people of the state to “rise up to the challenge and resist that.”
Born in Takum, an agrarian community in Taraba State, Dajuma, who enrolled in the Nigerian Army as a young man, rose through the ranks and retired in 1979.
From the position as General Officer Commanding, he was made the Chief of Army Staff to the then Head of State, Olusegun Obasanjo, in 1976, based on his capability and strong influence in the army.
He was President Muhammadu Buhari’s senior in the army.
Danjuma is one of the richest former military leaders with huge investments in shipping and oil businesses.
Earlier, the state governor, Darius Ishaku, said that the university was a great blessing to the state and appreciated the founders for their great dream that had brought education closer to the people and provided employment for many.
He said he would continue to support the university to position it as one of the leading universities in the country.
The Vice-Chancellor of the university, Professor Vincent Tenebe, disclosed that 5,900 candidates were graduated with various degrees, with 29 First Class graduates and 1,006 graduates with Second Class Upper Division over a span of five sets.
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