The former minister of defence, Gen. Theophilus Danjuma has accused the army and other security agencies of colluding with killers to attack Nigerians.
Speaking in Jalingo, Taraba State on Saturday during the maiden convocation of the Taraba State University (TSU), Jalingo, Danjuma urged people to defend themselves saying they will all die should they rely entirely on the military for protection.
Danjuma who stated unequivocally that the armed forces “are now biased in their operations,” was speaking against the backdrop of herdsmen attacks in Taraba, Adamawa, Benue and Plateau that have turned the states to killing fields.
“The armed forces are not neutral. They collude with the armed bandits. They kill people, kill Nigerians. They facilitate their movements, they cover them.
“If you depend on the armed forces to stop the killings you will all die one by one.
“The ethnic cleansing must stop in Taraba state, must stop in all the states of Nigeria.
“I ask everyone one of you to be alert and defend your territory, your state. You have nowhere else to go.
“Defend your country, defend your state and defend yourselves.
He further urged the people to rise up and “protect themselves” from killings by “ethnic cleansers”.
He cautioned that unless there is a rethink in the way the military carries out its duties, “Somalia will be a child’s play.”
“This ethnic cleansing must stop in Taraba State. It must stop in all the states of Nigeria. Otherwise Somalia would be a child’s play.
“I ask every one of you Nigerians, to be alert to defend your country; defend your territories, because you have nowhere to go.
“Thousands have been displaced from their homes which have been destroyed. Many, injured, are still hospitalised. Farmlands have been lost. Hunger is looming. God bless our country,” he added.
He expressed regret that the institution, which used to be a shield for citizens, irrespective of religion, tribe or political party affiliation, has descended into partisanship.
He wondered why the armed forces have derailed from its constitutional responsibilities by aligning with “killers” to intimidate and maim innocent Nigerians.”
He stressed that since the people have nowhere else to go, they must “collectively resist any attempt that would frustrate the growth of the country.”
Danjuma’s indictment of the military came on the heels of a similar allegation by Amnesty International (AI).
AI had in a January 29, 2018 statement, said little or nothing was being done to curb the mayhem by the herders.
“The Nigerian authorities’ response to communal violence is totally inadequate, too slow and ineffective, and in some cases unlawful.
“Clashes between herdsmen and farmers in Adamawa, Benue, Taraba, Ondo and Kaduna have resulted in 168 deaths in January 2018 alone.
“Hundreds of people lost their lives last year, and the government is still not doing enough to protect communities from these violent clashes.
“Worse, the killers are getting away with murder. In 2017, clashes between nomadic herdsmen and local farmers resulted in at least 549 deaths and thousands displaced across Enugu, Benue, Taraba, Zamfara, Kaduna, Plateau, Nasarawa, Niger, Plateau, Cross Rivers, Adamawa, Katsina, Delta and Ekiti states,” stated AI.
Meanwhile, the governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, meanwhile, has said that the silence of Nigerians must not be interpreted as endorsement of animalistic killings and nepotism flourishing under the government of President Buhari, but a graveyard silence that will result in electoral failure next year.
In a statement by his special assistant on public communications and new media, Lere Olayinka, the governor said: “In a democracy, the people are entitled to their views and can’t be silenced in their own land, particularly when the President has failed to protect Nigerians who are daily being killed, especially by herdsmen and Boko Haram terrorists.
It is the right of the citizens to call governments to order when they fail to live up to their responsibility,” he said.
He said Nigerians would resist any attempt by the President to hide under the “arranged abduction and release of the Dapchi girls” to achieve his alleged dictatorial aim of further clamping down on those who chose to speak out on his government’s failings.