The Nigerian Army has fired back at former Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma, for accusing it of romancing Boko Haram terrorists.
The General, while speaking on Saturday at the maiden convocation ceremony of Taraba State University in Jalingo, warned Nigerians to defend themselves against ethnic cleansing.
He said it was regrettable that the Nigeria Army is no more neutral in the fight against terrorism in the country, stressing that “the Army collude, aide and provide a shield to terrorists”.
Reacting, the Director Army Public Relations, Brig Gen Texas Chukwu, faulted the elder statesman’s comments.
He stated that the Army was doing its best to protect the nation from being overrun by terrorists.
His statement in full, “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.
“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.
“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.”