Following incessant attacks on innocent Nigerians by Fulani herdsmen, a former Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Theophilus Danjuma (retd), has called on Nigerians to rise up and defend their states against the rampaging herdsmen.
Speaking at the convocation ceremony of the Taraba State University convocation in Jalingo on Saturday, the state capital, Danjuma warned that If Nigerians failed to rise and defend themselves, they would soon be wiped out.
The army general accused the Nigerian government of attempting an ethnic cleansing in Taraba and other riverine areas of the country.
He also accused the country’s armed forces of complicity in the killings in these areas. According to him, the armed forces were providing cover for Fulani hersmen to perpetrate attacks which had killed thousands within this year alone.
Hear Danjuma: “The peace in this state is under assault. There is an attempt at ethnic cleansing in this state and, of course, in all the riverine state of Nigeria. We must resist it. We must stop it. Every one of us must rise up.
“The armed forces are not neutral; they collude with the armed 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.”
“The ethnic cleansing must stop in Taraba State, it must stop in all the states of Nigeria; otherwise Somalia will be a child’s play.”
“You have nowhere else to go,” he added.
To prevent this, Danjuma who was the Nigerian Minister of Defence between 1999 and 2003, called on Nigerians to rise up and defend their territories, state, and country.
Meanwhile, the miltary in a statement issued by its spokesmanTexas Chukwu has reacted to Gen Danjuma’s outburst, describing it as unfortunate.
”The attention of the Nigerian Army has been drawn to the unfortunate statement made by a former Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma, during the convocation ceremony of the Taraba State University on Saturday 24 March 2018 in which 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.
”He further called the people of Taraba State to take up arms and defend themselves.
”The Nigerian Army views this 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.
”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 the 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 the 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.”
Also, an aide of the Minister of Defence decried Danjuma’s statement and called on Nigerians to ignore him. Read the statement below:
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