Danjuma’s call for self-defence unfortunate, says Nigerian Army

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By Olu AJAYI (Abeokuta)

NIGERIA: THE Nigerian Army (NA) has described the call for self-defence of Nigerians against armed bandits by ex-Defence Minister, Gen. Thephilus Yakubu Danjuma, as unfortunate.

The NA in a news release signed by Director Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Texas Chukwu, also said that the call was “unfortunate at this critical time that the military has embarked upon demilitarisation of the North Central Region of the Country.”

“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,” the Army said.

*Major-General Tukur Buratai…Chief of Army Staff.

It, however, explained that while the NA would not want to join issues with Danjuma, a one-time Chief of Army Staff, it would put certain facts out in the interest of the Taraba people and Nigerians.

The NA said: “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,” it said, adding: “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,” it further said.

The NA also said: “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.  You are please requested to disseminate this information to the general public through your reputable medium.”

It would be recalled that Danjuma, had urged Nigerians not to depend on the military for the safety of their lives and properties, but to do all within their ambits to defend themselves.

Danjuma accused the nation’s armed forces of colluding with armed bandits to kill Nigerians.

According to him, instead of protecting fellow citizens the men in uniform have been helping in “facilitating the movement of bandits to kill Nigerians.”

*Gen. Danjuma…Unhappy with the military.

Danjuma, who spoke at the maiden convocation of  university in Jalingo where he donated N100 million to the university’s sports complex, urged Nigerians to defend their territories, saying that “if you are depending on the Armed Forces to stop the killings, you will all die one by one.”
Apparently a visibly angry ex-Minister said: “In this state, and, of course, in all the riverine states of Nigeria, we must resist. We must stop it.  Everyone of us must rise up.”

“The Armed Forces are not neutral, they collude, they collude with the armed bandits that kill people, kill Nigerians.  They facilitate their movements, they cover them,” he stressed after he was conferred with honorary doctorate degree of the university.
Danjuma further stressed: “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.”
“I ask everyone of you to be alert and defend your country, defend your territory, defend your state. You have nowhere else to go, you have nowhere else to go.  God bless our country,” he said in an apparent indictment of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in tackling the killings in the country.

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