Wole Ayodele in Jalingo
Taraba State Governor, Darius Ishaku, has charged the federal government to critically look into the allegation levelled against the Nigerian Armed Forces by General T. Y. Danjuma (rtd) rather than criticise it.
Danjuma, a former Chief of Army Staff, had accused the armed forces of colluding with armed bandits to kill innocent Nigerians and asked Nigerians to defend themselves against what he termed as ethnic cleansing.
Addressing members of the military investigation panel set up by the Chief of Army Staff, Buratai to investigate Danjumaâ€™s allegation who paid him a courtesy visit in his office, Ishaku affirmed that the people of Taraba State are fully behind the views expressed by the elder statesman.
Led by Major General James Nimyel, the investigative panel had visited the governor in his office in Jalingo yesterday to commence their job of investigating Danjumaâ€™s allegation.
The governor maintained that considering the reputation of the former Minister of Defence both locally and internationally, his views must not only be respected but commended.
He described the statement by Danjuma as bold and courageous which came to many Nigerians as a surprise, saying he has spoken the minds of all the people of Taraba and most Nigerians.
He stressed that the killings, which have become a daily affair has become a huge challenge to our unity as a country adding that it does not support our desire to remain as one country.
Ishaku further maintained that no Nigerian would want a repeat of the civil war considering the trauma and hardship that the people experienced within the period the war lasted, saying â€œnobody in his right senses would ask for a repeat of those tragic days in our history.â€
The governor revealed that his experience since he became the governor of the state in the past three years has been humiliating and disturbing, saying killings in the state have become a daily affair leading to the death of whole family members in some cases.
â€œI didnâ€™t sleep yesterday. At 1a.m., I was woken up and told that herdsmen militia had attacked again in Tsondi. They
fought a fierce battle against the military, but fortunately the military in Takum came early enough but not less than 14 people were killed.
â€œThe same thing happened again at 3a.m., the military in Takum went around beating up youths, arresting them from their houses, charging them with some allegations and packed them to the barracks. The citizens are not protected, the citizens are scared to death, the citizens are afraid and yet they are being terrorised.â€
The governor insist that the country was passing through very difficult times and that there was need for the federal government to urgently wake up and face these monsters and defeat them.
â€œWe already have Boko Haram that has not been completely defeated. The herdsmen killing has joined. Who says there could not be a third one? As governor, I was sworn in to protect the lives of my people. I have sworn that what is right should be done, therefore, I will not fear, I will not relent to tell the truth as raw as it may be,â€ he stated.
Condemning an incident involving the military and residents of Takum, Ishaku wondered how the military would go into peoples houses and dispossessed them of the their cutlasses, kitchen knives and even took away monies in some houses while the holders of Ak47 were left to continue with the killings.
In his remark, President of the investigation panel, Major General Nimyel, said the panel was in the state to investigate the allegation made against the Nigerian Army during the course of operations in Taraba State with a view to making appropriate recommendations that would assist relevant authorities in making appropriate decisions.
â€œThe activities of the Nigerian Army in the recent past, military operation, particularly in Taraba State have come under criticism by individuals, interest groups from different sectors of the society, particularly Taraba State Government, non-governmental organisations.â€™
â€œStatements of this nature could and have indeed questioned the reputation of the armed forces of Nigeria and thus cannot be ignored if the army is to continue to earn the trust and respect of the people of Taraba State in particular and Nigeria at large,â€ he stated.