For the second time in about four years, Nigeria’s former army chief and Minister of Defence, Lt. Gen. T.Y Danjuma has reiterated his call for citizens to acquire firearms to defend themselves against bandits and terrorists, who are mainly foreigners.
He spoke on Saturday at the official coronation and presentation of staff of office to the 25th Aku Uka of Wukari, the paramount ruler of the Kwararafa kingdom in Wukari town, Wukari Local Government Area of Taraba.
Danjuma’s comments came just as former Benue State Governor, Senator Gabriel Suswan called on Benue people to rise and defend themselves against killer herdsmen.
The Senator representing Benue North in the National Assembly lamented the killing of 36 farmers and a policeman at Gbeji in Ukum local government area of Benue State.
Suswam who spoke while visiting the area to commiserate with his affected constituents noted that the present administration has further demonstrated ineptitude and lackadaisical attitude in protecting the lives of the people.
According to him, he had visited Mchia in Logo local government area a week ago after 22 persons were murdered and several others were injured by herdsmen.
“Since the federal government has gone to sleep and does not care about the security of the people it is time for them to rise up and defend themselves, we cannot continue to allow herdsmen terrorists to keep on killing these peasant farmers and destroying their property.
“I want to commend the bravery and gallantry of our security agencies but they are overstretched and I want to say here that I cannot sleep in Abuja while our mothers who are producing food that we eat are killed in this way,” Suswam said.
In his own comments, General Danjuma said, “When I said the military were colluding with the armed bandits in 2017, the then minister of defence made a kangaroo commission of enquiry that mischievously submitted that there was no evidence about my claim and they asked me to come and defend it.
“I thank God today that the evidence is very clear to all Nigerians now. All Nigerian communities are now sacked by the same bandits I alleged, and all these bandits are foreigners.
“As a soldier, I must say the best way to defend is to attack, I will not buy arms for you. Find out how those attacking you acquired them, acquire them and attack back to defend yourself and your territory.
To the Aku Uka of Wukari, he said, “I must advise you to embrace peace and ensure its existence. But I must as well tell you to defend your territory and the people.
“You are surrounded by the armed bandits who are out to kill and destabilise the peace of your territory and you must exploit serious effort to defend your people and the territory.”
On the Benue killings, the Presidency issued a statement that President Muhammadu Buhari and all his administration condemn the recent attacks in Benue State.
It adds, “It is unacceptable for lives to be taken by herdsmen and farmers alike.
“No one should attack anyone because of their way of life. Neither should anyone take revenge on others for injustice done to them. Both should be held accountable for their actions, and justice delivered.
“It is equally unacceptable for the lives of those merely practising their duties as police officers and government officials to also be lost. Government will hold those that took those lives to account.
“There are many times when President Buhari and Governor Ortom of Benue State have disagreed politically. But, today, the President puts all these aside, to reach out to the Governor to express the heartfelt condolences of the nation for what has occurred in recent days.
“The President pledges the full support of the Federal administration in assisting him, his State government, and people of Benue with resources to investigate what has occurred.
“When tragedies like this occur, we must remember first and foremost that we are all Nigerians.
“Politics too often gets in the way of what is best for our nation. Too often, it divides us. As those who have been entrusted with leadership by our citizens, we have a duty to remember that, and do everything we can to bridge divisions and come together in the interests of all our people.”