TY Danjuma’s Defend Yourself Statement Sparks Controversy

A big row has broken out over Lt.-Gen Theophilus Danjuma’s advice that Nigerians should defend themselves over the incessant killings by rampaging Herdsmen.

The Armed Forces, in his view, cannot protect Nigerians because they collude with the killers.

The Army and the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, rejected the former Minister of Defence and elder statesman’s claim.

The Army yesterday described Gen. Danjuma’s statement as “most unfortunate”. The Minister said it was a call to anarchy.

Gen. Danjuma (retd) accused the military of taking sides with a particular group and called on the citizens of the affected states to defend themselves from the attacks by herdsmen.

He said at the maiden Convocation of the Taraba State University (TSU), Jalingo: “The Armed Forces are not neutral. They collude …with the armed bandits that kill people and kill Nigerians. They facilitate their movement. They cover them.”

The Minister of Defence, lashed out at Gen Danjuma, saying his comment was an invitation to anarchy, and therefore should be disregarded by well-meaning Nigerians.

The Army, in a statement signed by its spokesman, Brig.-Gen. Texas Chukwu, said contrary to Danjuma’s accusation, the army remained impartial in its handling of crises.

The army also asked Nigerians to disregard Gen Danjuma’s advice and enjoined the citizenry to go about their day-to-day activities without fear and be law abiding.

It warned that “as anyone caught with arms and ammunition will be dealt with accordance with the laws of the land.”

Reacting to Gen. Dajuma’s comments through a statement by his Public Relations Officer, Colonel Tukur Gusau, the Minister of Defence said Gen. Danjuma’s advice "should be disregarded by well-meaning Nigerians”.

"A recent comment by one of the elder statesmen wherein he alleged that the military colluded with bandits to kill people and, therefore, called on them to rise and defend themselves outside constitutional provisions. This is highly uncalled for and is an invitation to anarchy and should be disregarded by well- meaning Nigerians, “the statement said.

It added: “The efforts of the Nigeria Armed Forces towards restoration of peace, security and order in Nigeria are evidently clear and Nigerians continue to show appreciation for changing the security environment from what it was before.”

“If anyone has evidence of wrongdoings or dereliction of duty against our troops [he] should please bring forward such evidence through the appropriate channels for necessary action.”