- Wants an independent judicial panel set up
Wole Ayodele in Jalingo
Taraba State Governor Darius Ishaku has declared that the Nigeria Army under General Tukur Buratai lacks the fair-mindedness to do what is right to protect victims of herdsmen massacres in several states across the country.
The governor, who stated this while reacting to the report of the military panel set up by the Chief of Army Staff to investigate the allegations of collusion with bandits leveled against the military by General T. Y. Danjuma, stressed that the Chief of Army Staff and his men also lack the courage and capacity required to stop the massacres; not only in Taraba but also in Benue, Adamawa, Kaduna, Plateau, Zamfara and Kogi States.
In order to really ascertain the culpability or otherwise of the army in the killings as alleged by Danjuma, Ishaku also demanded the setting up of an independent judicial panel to conduct thorough and unbiased investigation into the allegations.
In a statement signed by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Bala Dan Abu, Ishaku stated â€œthe verdict of proof of the fact that is now public knowledge that the Army under General Tukur Buratai lacks the fair-mindedness, courage and capacity to do what is right to protect victims of the herdsmen massacres committed not only in Taraba State but also in Benue, Adamawa, Kaduna, Plateau, Zamfara and Kogi.â€
Describing Danjumaâ€™s allegation as frank, factual and courageous, Ishaku maintained that the allegation was a true reflection of the alleged criminal acts of collusion by the army in the heinous herdsmen killing of innocent people in the North East and central parts of Nigeria, including Taraba state.
Rejecting the report of the military panel headed General John Nimyel in its entirety, Ishaku stated that â€œthe committee is an extension of the Armyâ€™s bias which it exhibited and has continued to exhibit over the crisesâ€.
â€œWith the verdict, the Army has proved the appropriateness of the popular axiom that one cannot and should not sit in judgment in a case in which heâ€™s also the accusedâ€, he added.
In its report, which was made public by the Chief of Army Staff, the committee dismissed Danjumaâ€™s allegation against the Army and commended the Army for being professional in the discharge of its duties.
Besides, the committee indicted the Taraba state government of undue interference and politicisation of the crisis in the state, which, according to the committee, were largely communal and perennial.
The governor insisted that the outcome of the so-called investigation by the military panel can only surprise the outlandish optimist, saying the people of Taraba and all other Nigerians who have followed the Armyâ€™s shocking acts of looking the other way while the massacres raged in these parts of the country do not belong to that group of optimists.
â€œWe in Taraba State and all other Nigerians who have followed the Armyâ€™s shocking acts of looking the other way while the massacres raged in these parts of the country do not belong to that group of optimists.
â€œTherefore, we are not surprised by the verdict of â€˜not guiltyâ€™ which the army panel returned in favour of the army. The case of the Armyâ€™s culpability in the killings is very widely known and acknowledged within and outside the shores of this country. It is on record that even Amnesty International had reason to condemn the Armyâ€™s lukewarm attitude to the killings in the pastâ€, he added.
Ishaku further stated that the Army did not only fail to stop the killings anywhere and everywhere its soldiers were deployed, â€œthey deliberately promoted it by looking the other way so that the killers could have unhindered access to their unarmed and helpless victims.â€