A former Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Theophilus Danjuma (retd), has accused the Nigerian Armed Forces of complicity in the killings in Taraba, Benue and other “riverine states” in the country.
General Danjuma told hundreds at the Taraba State University convocation in Jalingo, the state capital, on Saturday that the military was not neutral and was covering those behind the attacks, which has claimed scores of lives this year alone.
An indigene of Taraba State, which he described as a mini Nigeria composed of various ethnic groups living together reasonably peacefully, General Danjuma is worried that the killings can disrupt the peace not just in the state but in the country.
He said, “The peace in this state is under assault. There is an attempt at ethnic cleansing in this state and, of course, in all the riverine state of Nigeria. We must resist it. We must stop it. Every one of us must rise up.
“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.”
General Danjuma, who was Nigeria’s Minister of Defence from 1999 to 2003, warned that Nigeria risks suffering a fate such as that of Somalia if the killings are not checked.
“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,” General Danjuma said.
To avoid such a situation, he called on Nigerians to rise up and defend their territories, state, and country.
“You have nowhere else to go,” he said.
Defence Headquarters Reacts
The Director of Defence Information, Brigadier General John Agim rejected the allegations.
He told Channels TV via the phone that the military had carried out its duties in accordance with the Constitution, adding however that allegations of bias would be investigated and personnel found guilty punished.