Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
Defence Headquarters (DHQ) yesterday declared that the Nigerian military was not serving any tribal interest in the ethnic crisis ravaging Taraba and Benue States.
A former Minister of Defence and Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Theophilus Danjuma (rtd), had accused the military of taking sides in the ethnic crisis in the state.
Danjuma made the allegation during the convocation ceremony of Taraba State University in Jalingo.
“The armed forces are not neutral. They collude with the armed bandits to kill people, kill Nigerians”, he alleged.
But a statement signed by the Coordinator, Directorate of Defence Media Operations (DDMO), Major General John Enenche, said the allegation that troops operating at the border of Taraba and Benue States were taking sides by preventing the Tivs from returning to their homes was unfounded.
“The attention of the Nigerian Military has been drawn to news going round in some quarters and the media that the troops operating at the boundary between Taraba and Benue States are taking side, by preventing the Tivs from returning to their homes.
“This unpatriotic comment from some individuals are coming after troops of Operation Whirl Stroke and the internal security outfits of both Taraba and Benue states, have stabilised the security situation in the general area of conflict between the two tribes”, it said.
The statement said it had become necessary to remind Nigerians that “it’s military is a force that serves the interest of all Nigerians equally as guided by relevant laws.
Additionally, the Armed Forces of Nigeria is made up of professionals with adequate training on internal security issues and conflict management.
“Therefore, the high command of the Nigerian Military debunks this fallacy of preventing the Tivs from returning home after the crisis.”
The statement further assured of the total loyalty of the Armed Forces of Nigeria to constituted authorities as well as full commitment to the protection of lives and property of Nigerians.