Justin Tyopuusu, Jalingo
The Aku Uka of Wukari and chairman of the Taraba State Council of Chiefs, Dr Shekarau Masa Ibi (Kuvyo II), on Monday said Nigerians had lost confidence in the military.
The monarch made the comment when he received the Army Probe Panel investigating the allegations of military collusion with armed bandits in the attacks on residents of Taraba and other parts of the country.
Gen. Theophilus Danjuma had recently accused the Armed Forces of colluding with bandits to kill Nigerians and urged the people to defend themselves.
Aku Uka, who thanked the military leadership for setting up the panel, said, “It is a known fact that the citizens of Nigeria have lost confidence in the military, in spite of their track record of successful peace missions in other parts of the world.
“I want to remind you members of the panel that Nigerians who are crying for justice are expecting much from you, so also the armed forces who are looking up to your report to help them to restore our citizens confidence in the Nigeria military.
“As an umpire, Nigerians expect you to be just and fair in your assignment, and only a fair, just and transparent report of your panel can restore the lost image of the military.”
Presenting the position of the Wukari Traditional Council before the panel, the Adviser to the Aku Uka on Media and Legal Affairs, Danjuma Adamu, said the high expectations of the people of the area after the deployment of soldiers for the Exercise Ayem Akpatuma were not met as the attacks and killings continued.
Danjuma, who cited several cases of alleged military collusion, noted that on several occasions the soldiers deployed in the area refused to defend the farming communities despite pleas by the council chairman and the traditional council, giving credence to the insinuations that they were taking sides with the killer herdsmen.
He said that on October 19, 2015, Fulani militia attacked Sondi in the Kente district and killed 30 people, adding that residents of the village accused soldiers in the area of aiding the attackers.
“On 10th April, 2018, Gbeji was attacked and five people were killed. On the same day Sontyo village was attacked and destroyed by herdsmen who took over the village and their cows are grazing there as their permanent abode.
“The following day 11th April, 2018, the militia attacked Jandeikyula village killing over 25 people. The soldiers and policemen attempted to confront them but the militia escaped without a single attacker arrested.
“On the whole, 200 people have been killed from April 2013 till date, 401 villages destroyed, thousands wounded or maimed and farmlands destroyed,” he submitted.
While alleging that the attacks and killings were meant to wipe out the indigenous occupants of the area to pave the way for a full Fulani occupation, the Wukari traditional council appealed to the Federal Government to pay a serious attention to the crisis.
The Chairman of the Wukari Local Government Council, Daniel Adi, in his submission, also alleged the complicity of the military in the killings in the area. He urged the panel to check with the Police Area Command in Wukari for some of the case files showing military personnel aiding the movements of the attackers.
Earlier, the Chairman of the Probe Panel, Maj. Gen. Joseph Nimyel (retd.) sympathised with the Aku Uka over the loss of lives and destruction of property as a result of the crisis in the area.
He informed the monarch that they were in the state to investigate allegations of collusion levelled against the military by Danjuma.
Nimyel said the panel would send its findings to the Army Headquarters in Abuja, the Taraba State Government and the Federal Government with a view to helping the authorities in their future dealings.
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