Our attention has been drawn to some thoightless and careless statements made by the Nigerian Army and the Sharia Council of Nigeria against the Elder Statesman and Philanthropist, Gen. T. Y. Danjuma (Rtd).
Gen. T. Y. Danjuma had on the 24th March, 2018 at a convocation of the Taraba State Unibersity, Jalingo berated the Nigerian Army for colluding with the Fulani herdsmen to carry out genocide and ethnic cleansing agenda in the Middle Belt Region and some some other parts of Nigeria.
It is important to note that, the Nigeria Army admitted to the crime but stated that complaints received were from outside Taraba State. But does it really matter? The fact remains that the Army colluded with the Fulani herdsmen/bandits to kill, maim and rape women in our communities. In some of the places they carried out these heinous crimes, they took over the houses, farm lands and communal villages of the victims and occupied same. So if this is not ethnic cleansing, what is it?
In Numan, Adamawa State, the herdsmen severally invaded a number of communities; deliberately targeting and killing their district heads and other traditional rulers and burning down their towns and villages (as happened in Dong District). When the vigilante rose to the occasion to defend and roll back the ivaders of their land during one of such attacks, the herdsmen ran and hid inside the Savannah Sugar Plantation. The vigilante surrounded the plantation so as to arrest them. But all of a sudden the Nigerian Air force fighter jet arrived and bombed the local vigilante group to enable the herdsmen to escape. Pray, what do we call this type of aerial cover to killer criminals other than government-aided genocide?
In Southern Kaduna, the case is not any different. Some of their choice their choice lands and villages have been taken over after the Autochthonous people of the lands had been completely annihilated. If this is not ethnic cleansing, what is it called?
As we write this, most parts of 5 local government areas of plateau state have been overran and their choice lands/villages similarly taken over. The local government in which such unprovoked invasions took place include:
Of recent, Benue state became visibly the worst hit. The new year gift they got on the 1st January, 2018 was the massacre of over seventy (70) of the local people. And since the mass burial of seventy three unarmed and innocent people of that state in one of such attacks, over a hundred people have further been murdered in cold blood, even as we write this piece. And as it has been the killer herssmen’s trademark, they had some of the natibes’ lands and homes taken over and are still living there to date. We ask again, what do you called this type of genocide other than ethnic cleansing?
As of today, nobody is safe in the middle Belt; Kogi State recently came under attacks by this same terrorists called Fulani herdsmen. In this case, a traditional ruler, his wife and children were killed. On the whole, over fifty (50) people lost their lives in the attacks that took place in Omala, Dekina and Bassa Local Government Areas. But what is even more amazing is that s oldiers practically blocked youths/vigilantes from Abejokolo from rescuing those at Agbenema for the hours the genocide lasted. And till now, the Government of the Federation has not issue any statement to condemn the killings, how much less the Presdent visiting the scenes. We once again asked, what should we call this?
As it stands today, no one in this cultural Region is safe. From Numan to Mambilla, Brinin Gwari to Iseluku, Ondo to Ogone’nigu, Guma to Southern Kaduna; no community is is safe! For, the Fulani herdsmen appear to have the license to kill, main and takeover other peples’ lands at will. Even such a conclusion can be deduced from the comments made by the Minister of Defence, the Inspector General of Police and the official confirmation by the Commander In Chief that, he didn’t know the Inspector General of police refused to carry out his orders. We ask once more, is that same man still occupying the office as Inspector General of Police after such a summit revelation?
Another question is do we, as Nigerians, have any constitutional rights to self-defense? since the first natural rule of life existence for any living organism or a community thereof is that of SELF-PRESERVATION, do we have the right to defend ourlives? If yes, what is wrong when Gen. T. Y. Danjuma merely reminded us that, look, don’t fold your hands while you die (like chickens) one by one? If we have the right to defend yourselves, the Elder statesman and war hero only reminded us of our constitutional responsibilities as citizens. To us, Gen. T. Y. Danjuma deserves a National Honour for his timely call for to save lives, rather than the castigations from any quarter except, perhaps, by the actual sponsors of the killer Fulani herdsmen. And it is for this reason we demand herewith that the Nigerian Army and the so-called Sharia Council of Nigeria to withdraw their negative comments against this great Leader and Patriot par excellence. Failure to do so within the next twenty-eight (28) days from the date of this publication will leave us with no option than to sue them for libel and character assassination because that is what their comments amount to.
Finally, we herewith restate that we stand by our leader General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma (Rtd) on this matter urge our people to rightly prepare to defend themselves when attacked since government security apparatuses (that are supposed to protect us) are not neutral or at best look the other way as we are attacked and killed.
(Bala J Takaya)
National President, Middle Belt Forum
(Dr Ben Dikki)
National Secretary, Middle Belt Forum
(Dr Isuwa Dogo)
National Director of Publicity, Middle Belt Forum