The Presidency, on Saturday, described as shocking and scary the recent statement by a former Minister of Defence, Lt. Nigerians should not rely on security agencies for protection but defend apex forex forum in the face of unrestrained killings across the country.
It said unrestrained pronouncements were capable of encouraging criminals to defy legal and democratic institutions. The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said these in a statement made available to journalists on Saturday. Presidency on its reaction to Danjuma. The Presidency, in the statement, urged prominent Nigerians to use their national influence wisely and shun public declarations that could threaten national security. The Presidency wondered if any country could survive if its citizens rose against its military. The Presidency wishes to appeal to prominent Nigerians, who have national influence, to use their influence wisely and not continue to engage in public declarations that are likely to inflame emotional passions and threaten national security. The Presidency is very worried that criminal gangs will feel justified in defying legal, governing and democratic institutions, and authorities of legitimately elected democratic government if unrestrained pronouncements are made.
Silence can be dignified, but sometimes, it can be misinterpreted and exploited. It is both shocking and scary to hear the recent comments by a senior citizen calling for Nigerians to defend themselves. What country would survive if its citizens rise against the country’s organised, trained and equipped military? We advise former leaders to take advantage of the various fora, where people with a history of national security can offer advice to the government without resorting to the exploitation of emotional sentiments. To keep Nigeria one is a task that must be done’, rings very timely at this time in our nation’s history. We must be careful to avoid the mess that destroyed other African countries like Somalia. The reaction came exactly one week after Danjuma, while speaking at the maiden convocation of the Taraba State University, Jalingo, and the 10th anniversary of the institution, told Nigerians to defend themselves against killers in the country.
While the former army chief alleged that the military was not neutral in the killings, he added that the armed forces were not ready to defend them. Our Armed Forces are not neutral. They collude with the bandits to kill people, kill Nigerians. If you are depending on the Armed Forces to stop the killings, you will all die one by one. This ethnic cleansing must stop in Taraba State and other rural states of Nigeria, otherwise, Somalia will be a child’s play.
Defend yourselves because you have no other place to go. The Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, and other individuals have since supported Danjuma’s call. Meanwhile, the Co-Chairman of the Nigerian Intervention Movement, Dr. Danjuma should not be blamed for what he said since the government had failed to protect the lives of innocent Nigerians. Generally speaking, I feel that the statement by Danjuma can be interpreted based on perspective. If you are in government, you may fault him but the truth is that in spite of everything the government has tried to do, killings are still going on.
Just the other day, herdsmen came to Lekki. So, it is still going on in spite of what might be the best efforts of the government. Taraba is a heavily-affected state and so, what do you want them to say if you can no longer depend on security agents to protect you. Look at the case of Dapchi where soldiers withdrew and then Boko Haram went in to abduct the girls. So, nobody can trust the army anymore. I don’t and if I was living in an insecure area, I would tell my people to arm themselves and be ready.
Rather than say that Danjuma should not have said what he said, the government should do its best and show us that it can protect our lives and property. In its reaction, the apex Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, knocked the Federal Government over its statement. It described the Presidency’s reaction as insensitive and offensive, noting that it showed that the government supported the activities of the killer herdsmen. Afenifere’s spokesman, Yinka Odumakin, called on the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Genocide to investigate the killings before they would lead to a breakdown of law and order in the country.
Is it asking Nigerians being killed to defend themselves that could lead to a breakdown of law and order? Seventy-three people were killed in one day in Benue. Many people have been killed in the last three years. Not one person has been brought to book by this government. This statement is so embarrassing, offensive, unfeeling. It shows clearly that the Nigerian Government is fully behind the activities of the herdsmen who are killing people and that is why we restate our demand. Since there is no justice from the Federal Government, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Genocide should look into what is going on in Nigeria before there is a breakdown of law and order.
Also, some security experts have backed the call by Danjuma on Nigerians to defend themselves. The experts, in separate interviews, said self-preservation was the first law of nature and that Nigerians had the right to defend themselves when attacked by the rampaging Fulani herdsmen. A retired Commissioner of Police, Olusola Amore, pointed out that self-defence was guaranteed by the constitution, stressing that a citizen had the rights to defend himself against aggressors, particularly if his life was under threat. The issue of self-defence is guaranteed by the constitution.