Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
A group, Security Watch International, yesterday accused Minister of Defence, Brigadier General Mansur Dan-Ali (rtd), of influencing the deployment of military checkpoints around his house in Zamfara State in the face of raging banditry in the state.
The minister, had weekend, attributed insecurity in the state to poor governance, unemployment and drug abuse.
The group, in a statement, signed by Director, Security Strategy of the organisation, said the minister was only concerned about his personal security hence the deployment of checkpoints around his house while the state was on fire.
“The minister has, contrary to all expectations, influenced deployment of soldiers around his house while bandits ran amok in the state.
“He has accused the state government of poor governance and unemployment which he said are reasons for the banditry but in doing so he has failed to realise that the state is on fire,” the group said.
But in a swift reaction, Public Relations Officer to the Minister, Colonel Tukur Gusau, said there was no such deployment except “normal military patrol which is all over the state in view of the security situation there.
“The minister is deeply concerned about the security of the state. That is why he supported and welcomed the establishment of military formations of the Army and the Air force in the state and the entire North-west as directed by the President.
“The military patrol around his house as they claim, is the same patrol around the state. It is not restricted to a particular area.
“The minister’s family is not in Zamfara State; so, that is not correct”, he said.
Also reacting to the accusation, Nigerian Army spokesman, Brigadier General Sani Usman, said the army was not involved in “discriminatory deployment”.
“Our deployment is for the security of the nation not just Zamfara State; So, military presence in Zamfara is designed to address the security challenge there.
“Nigerian Army does not engage in discriminatory deployment.
“We aim to protect the territorial integrity of the nation and not for particular individuals”, he said.