*Insists on self-defence, saying foreign bandits trying to colonise Nigeria

*FG will provide funds to probe killings in Benue, Buhari promises Ortom


Deji Elumoye in Abuja and Wole Ayodele in Jalingo

A former Minister of Defence, Gen. Theophilus Danjuma (rtd), has once again called on Nigerians to defend themselves and their lands against armed bandits who are trying to overrun the country.

Danjuma’s charge is coming as President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday told Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State that the federal government was ready to assist the state government with necessary funds to probe the recent herders-farmers clashes, which claimed some lives in the state.
Lamenting the current insecurity being witnessed across the country, Danjuma asked Nigerians to find out how bandits get arms so that they could have theirs for self-defence.

The former Chief of Army Staff had in a rare outburst in March 2018 raised the alarm that there was an attempt at ethnic cleansing in the country by herdsmen and asked Nigerians to rise to resist it.
Danjuma renewed the call for self-defence yesterday in Wukari in Taraba State during the coronation and presentation of Staff of Office to His Royal Majesty, Manu Ishaku Ada Ali, the 25th Aku Uka Wukari.

Ali was appointed the new Aku Uka in 2021 by Governor Darius Ishaku, following the demise of Dr. Shekarau Angyu who ruled for 45 years.
Danjuma alleged that the Armed Forces were probably unwilling to defend the country.
According to Danjuma, his earlier call on Nigerians to defend their land against armed foreign bandits was taken for granted, adding that the result was clear for everyone to see.

He said it was sad that Nigeria, the biggest black country in the world, is under siege by terrorists who are trying to root out the citizens.
“As a soldier, the best defence is to attack. Right now, we are all sitting ducks. These people are armed to the teeth with weapons of mass destruction but we don’t have them. We have the numbers and the land belongs to us. They are trying to colonise us and take over our lands. Your majesty, you must unite our people to defend themselves.

“I will not give you arms. Find out how the people who have it got it and use the same means to acquire arms and defend yourselves. This beautiful land called Nigeria is being brought to ruin by absolutely useless criminals. How do they get here? We know some of them may even be here. My prayer is that God Almighty that has given us this land will give us the courage to face these enemies and chase them out. This we must do, otherwise, Nigeria is finished.
“We must find out the source of the arms of terrorists; Nigerians should equally find a means of arming themselves to face the terrorists,” he said.

He said when he accused the military of colluding with terrorists, he was called a liar, but now, Nigerians have realised the truth.
He said after his statement in 2018, a “Kangaroo panel” was set up by the military and he was invited to defend what he said but he refused to appear before the panel.

“In 2018 when I called on the people to defend themselves, a kangaroo commission of enquiry was set up to investigate and they said I was lying because there was no evidence.
“Today in the country, there is evidence everywhere; the foreign bandits are killing and taking over lands in all the places.
“The whole country now is being overrun and one very clear thing that is happening now is that these foreign invaders are destroying everything and our government allowed them to come into the country.

“My appeal to you the new Aku Uka is for you to unite us to be able to effectively defend ourselves against the enemies of the country,” Danjuma said.
Danjuma had in March 2018 raised the alarm that the Nigerian Armed Forces were colluding with armed bandits and charged Nigerians to rise and defend themselves before they were completely exterminated.

The former Minister of Defence, who spoke in Jalingo, the Taraba State capital at the maiden convocation ceremony of Taraba State University, said Nigerians must be alert to defend themselves and their country, pointedly accusing the military of complicity in the killing of farmers by herdsmen.
He said: “When I arrived at this arena, I saw a rich cultural display, and I was amazed at the rich cultural heritage of our people. Taraba is a mini Nigeria with diverse ethnic groups living together relatively peacefully. But the peace in this state is under assault.
“There is an attempt at ethnic cleansing in the state and of course, in some riverine and rural states in Nigeria. We must resist it. We must stop it. Every one of us must rise.

“Our Armed Forces are not neutral. They collude with the armed bandits to kill people and kill Nigerians. The Armed Forces guide their movements. They cover them. If you are depending on the Armed Forces to stop the killings, you will all die one by one,” he reportedly explained.
Danjuma was however accused of raising a false alarm after a panel set up by the military authorities concluded that there was no evidence to support his claims.
Meanwhile, Governor Darius Ishaku, while presenting the Staff of Office to the Aku Uka, urged him to unite his subjects for a peaceful prosperous kingdom and state.

Ishaku, who congratulated Ali on his elevation as the supreme leader of the Kwararafa Kingdom, urged him to use his wealth of experience to attract peace and develop the state.
On his part, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Abubakar, urged the youth of Wukari to listen to the Aku Uka for a peaceful election in 2023 and beyond.
In his response, the Aku Uka and Chairman of Taraba Traditional Council pledged to work hard to ensure peace, unity and progress of the state and Nigeria.
The coronation was witnessed by a large crowd, including Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State, traditional rulers from all over the country, and government officials, among others.

FG will Provide Funds to Probe Killings in Benue, Buhari Promises Ortom

In a related development, President Buhari has promised Governor Ortom of Benue State that the federal government is ready to assist with the necessary funds to probe the recent herders-farmers clashes, which claimed some lives in the state.

The President, in a statement issued yesterday by his spokesman, Mallam Garba Shehu, while condemning the recent attacks in the state, pledged the full support of the federal government in assisting Ortom, his state government, and the people of Benue State with resources to investigate what occurred.
According to him, “when tragedies like this occur, we must remember first and foremost that we are all Nigerians.”

“There are many times when President Buhari and Governor Ortom of Benue State have disagreed politically. But, today, the President puts all these aside, to reach out to the governor to express the heartfelt condolences of the nation for what has occurred in recent days.

“Politics too often gets in the way of what is best for our nation. Too often, it divides us. As those who have been entrusted with leadership by our citizens, we have to remember that, and do everything we can to bridge divisions and come together in the interests of all our people,” the statement explained.
“It is unacceptable for lives to be taken by herdsmen and farmers alike.

“No one should attack anyone because of their way of life. Neither should anyone take revenge on others for injustice done to them. Both should be held accountable for their actions, and justice delivered.
“It is equally unacceptable for the lives of those merely practising their duties as police officers and government officials to also be lost. The government will hold those that took those lives to account.”

Atiku Commiserates with Families of Those Killed in Inter-communal Clash in Benue

Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party and former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar has expressed sadness over sustained clashes between farmers and herders that led to the loss of lives including those of police officers in Gbeji village, Ukum Local Government Area of Benue State.
The PDP presidential flag bearer is concerned that the escalation of inter-communal violence does not bode well for our national unity and stability.
He noted that the only way to stem the crisis is to promote love and brotherliness among people.

According to him, Nigeria’s diversity should not be a handicap but a major strength if well harnessed.
“One way of harnessing our diversity is the envisaged constitutional reform that will place emphasis on inclusiveness. “When our people are well integrated into communities where they live, work, pay their taxes and raise their children then they’d be obligated to reciprocate the love and acceptance,” he said.
The former vice president called on Nigerians to reduce the rhetoric of hate speech and profiling of citizens.

“We should see our fellow citizens as fellow Nigerians. Where we were born and our mode of worship is a geographical situation that we have no control over. What we have in common is far greater than our differences. Let’s focus on our commonality to enhance our unity”
He expressed his deepest condolences to the families that may have lost a loved one and to the people and government of Benue State.

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