A group under the aegis of Middle Belt Conscience Guard (MBCG) has demanded for open apology from former Chief of Army Staff, Gen Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma over his recent claim that the Nigerian military colluded with those behind killings in the country.
Herdsmen killings: Defend yourselves or you will all die – TY Danjuma tells Nigerians
Danjuma had in March called for self-defense over the unnecessary killings in the country, which he had tagged ethnic cleansing of the people of Taraba and Nigeria at large.
He had said, “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.”
Following his claim, the army constituted a 10-member panel to probe the allegations.
The panel, which comprised serving and retired army personnel, representatives of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), was set up on April 10.
However, the panel after its findings said allegations leveled against it by retired Gen. Danjuma that it refused to protect the people of Taraba State were untrue.
The report exonerated the army, saying that there was no collusion between it and bandits in Taraba as alleged by the former chief of army staff.
Army releases report on Taraba govt, TY Danjuma’s allegations [Full text]
Reacting to the development, MBCG hailed the Nigerian Army for working meticulously, painstakingly and conscientiously to unravel the truth in its report.
Prince Raymond Enero, National Co-ordinator of the group said it is evident cause of the vilification of the Nigerian Army and the attempt to taint its reputation by some stakeholders in Taraba state stemmed from the refusal of Lt. Col. Gambari to be dragged into the complex political and ethnic mix in Taraba state by some powerful politicians, in apparent abuse and violation of his professional duties or code of ethical conduct.
According to him, “These politicians and leaders are reminded that this is a precarious move, as the politicization of the Army portends grave dangers for democracy and security of the nation. This is a fact at the fingertip of Gen. Danjuma (rtd).
“The MBCG have consequently perceived the adamant refusal of Gen. TY. Danjuma’s to make himself accessible to the Military Probe Panel constituted at the instance of his indecorous, mendacious, untruthful, fallacious and spiteful allegations against the Nigerian Army.
“To say the least, it has exposed Gen. Danjuma (rtd) as the silent shadows behind the frosty and degenerating inter-ethnic animosities in a multi-ethnic and multi-plural state like Taraba, often ending in escalated violent communal skirmishes.
“The pervading atmosphere of intolerance, ethnic rivalries, distrust and lack of inclusion of all in the political and leadership spheres of all ethnicities in Taraba state is condemnable. And we are stunned and indeed, t is very disheartening to know, it sprouts from the handiwork of the masked forces of some of these elder statesmen, as Gen. Danjuma’s outing has yawningly professed by his empty vitriolic comments.
“It is little surprise, they expected that the Nigerian Army would become the springboard to fester these aberrations. But the adroit stand of the Army, who cannot compromise professionalism offended them infinitely.
“So, everything possible was done to strewn the path of the Army with impediments, including false accusations and media mudslinging against the Army. This posed extreme difficulties to soldiers in the course of performing their Constitutional and official assignments, yet they excelled.
“Therefore, his mass call for self-defence is self-serving, unpatriotic, uncharitable and a serious disservice to Nigeria, a country which has done so much for him in life and keeps sustaining him.
“To this end, we thus, unreservedly frown at Gen. TY Danjuma (rtd) for making such uniformed allegations and statements against the Nigerian Army. He is further implored and prodded to immediately re-secure his reputation by a remorseful retraction of the statements, with an apology to the Federal Government of Nigeria, the Nigerian Army and the good people of Nigeria over his unjustifiable utterances.
“But in the interim, it is our firm conviction that all stakeholders in Taraba State should be cautioned against making inflammatory statements, which have the potency to undermine, jeopardize or scuttle the efforts at peace and security to bring the communal clashes to a halt, with the intervention of the Army .
We also find it expedient to advise the Nigerian Army never to be distracted by the antics of our politicians and leaders.”