Danjuma’s statement, a call to anarchy, says APC, Yakassai

Theophilus Danjuma

The All Progressives Congress (APC) and an elder statesman, Malam Tanko Yakassai, yesterday deplored the call by the former Minister of Defence, Lt-Gen Theophilus Danjuma, on the citizenry to defend themselves against “ethnic cleansers.”

At the convocation of the Taraba State University at the weekend, Danjuma accused the armed forces of colluding with armed bandits to perpetrate violence.

He also alleged that the armed forces were unable to adequately provide security for the citizens of Taraba State and called on the people to defend themselves.

APC Spokesperson, Malam Bolaji Abdullahi, in a reaction, described Danjuma’s position on the raging conflict between herdsmen and farmers as a call to anarchy.

He reiterated the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC administration’s commitment to tackling the insecurity plaguing the country.

“We believe that a person of that caliber shouldn’t be making that kind of statement that can throw the country into anarchy. No responsible government would allow the skirmishes between farmers and herdsmen get out of hand. We are doing our best to secure the lives and property of Nigerians.

“To say that government is not doing enough is one thing. But to say that government is complicit in the killing of people is a completely different thing. Government will continue to do its best and if there are shortcomings, we will address them.

To now begin to say that because of those shortcomings government is complicit in the killings, it is very dangerous for Gen. Danjuma to take such a stance.”

Yakassai believed that Danjuma’s statement could be a result of President Buhari ‘s refusal to heed his advice on the matter.

He, however, disagreed with the call on the citizenry to take up arms against anybody perceived to be among killer herdsmen in the country.

Yakassai particularly wondered why Danjuma who is in his 80’s would go out of his way to preach violence rather than preach the message of peace to Nigerians.

“What Gen. Danjuma said is hardly the words of elders. Elders are known for trying to calm down tension and not to invite conflict. If the two warring groups decide to defend themselves, it means there would be endless anarchy and this is not what we want in this 20th century.”

On Danjuma allegation that the Nigeria Army is complicit in the crises, he urged him to provide verifiable evidence to prove his claim.

“The military remains his constituency even though he left service over 40 years ago. He is still respected among the rank and file. He has the opportunity to meet the highest echelon of the army to talk to them and advise them. This is a better option than calling for anarchy.”

But the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, lauded Danjuma for exposing how the country’s security architecture is being compromised.

The governor also castigated the APC-led Federal Government for focusing on 2019 re-election bid at the expense of governance and protection of life and property.

Wike made the comments after swearing in four judges of the Rivers State High Court and Customary Court of Appeal at the Government House, Port Harcourt yesterday.

He said Danjuma deserved commendation for saying the obvious truth about the security architecture of the country. According to Wike, security in Rivers State has been deliberately compromised by security agencies who work with APC to undermine the safety of lives and property.

Wike stressed that the alleged move by the APC against the setting up of the Neighbourhood Safety Corps underscored the sinister schemes to promote insecurity in the state.

“Nigeria has gotten to a point that we don’t know where we are heading. I don’t use to fast, but I will fast for God to keep Gen. Danjuma. He has said the obvious truth. It is happening daily in Rivers State.

We are setting up our Neighbourhood Safety Corps, but they are generating crisis. We only replicated what is in existence in Lagos State, but nobody queries that of Lagos State. Only recently, Nasarawa State launched her outfit, without being challenged,” the governor said.

Also, the socio-cultural organisation of Jukun people, Jukun Development Association of Nigeria (JDAN) has thrown its weight behind its elder kinsman, Danjuma.

The National President of the association, Chief Bako Benjamin, told newsmen in Lagos yesterday that the majority of Nigerians were unaware of the calamity that has befallen Jukun people in the last four years.

He said the media had not paid adequate attention to the “silent ethnic cleansing and genocide ongoing in southern and central Taraba.”

To him, rather than lampooning Danjuma for his candid view, the Nigerian military should launch an investigation into the weighty allegation and fish out her culpable members.

JDAN, he said, demanded a commission of inquiry to look into the cases of atrocities, human rights violations and banditry allegedly committed by some security forces in Jukunland.

He said innocent people were being killed by herdsmen, homes and farmlands were being burnt with wanton impunity and the lives being lost meant nothing to the people who had sworn to defend them and the nation against aggression.

Bako declared that Danjuma spoke exactly the minds of his people and out of frustration.

He said Danjuma’s statement was a reflection of the current reality in Taraba and elsewhere around the Middle Belt, where villages and town have been sacked and indigenes chased away by Fulani herdsmen who invaded their communities with the full backing of security operatives.

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