A former Minister of Defence and an elder statesman, Lt. Gen. Theophilus Danjuma (retd.), on Saturday, told Nigerians to defend themselves against killers in the country, saying the armed forces were not ready to defend them.
Danjuma made the call while speaking at the maiden convocation of the Taraba State University, Jalingo, and the 10th anniversary of the institution.
The former Chief of Army Staff stated, “I am not a politician and politics is one profession I don’t want to belong to because if I am a politician, I will not say what I am going to say to you now.
“When I arrived in this arena, I saw 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 peacefully, but the peace in this state is under assault.
“There is an attempt at ethnic cleansing in the state and of course, some rural states in Nigeria. We must resist it. We must stop it. Every one of us must rise up.
“Our Armed Forces are not neutral. They collude with the bandits to kill people, 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.
“This ethnic cleansing must stop in Taraba State and other rural states of Nigeria otherwise Somalia will be a child’s play.
“I ask every one of you to be alert and defend your country, defend your territory and defend your state. Defend yourselves because you have no other place to go. God bless our country.”
The call by the retired general came barely two days after residents of the Takum and Ussa Local Government Areas of Taraba State accused the Army Operation Ayem Akpatuma (Cat Race) of providing cover for the killer herdsmen to attack and kill villagers in the areas.
The Chairman of Takum, Shiban Tikari, and his Ussa counterpart, Rimansikwe Karma, had, on Thursday, while conducting journalists round the villages attacked by herdsmen in their LGAs, accused the operatives of Operation Cat Race, currently going on in the state, of brutality, extortion and providing cover for herdsmen to kill the locals.