Former Defence Minister Theophilus Danjuma’s allegation, that the military is “colluding” with killer-herdsmen to commit “ethnic cleansing” will be a subject for debate by the Nigerian Senators today, Tuesday, March 28, 2018.
Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom yesterday supported the call by Gen. Danjuma that Nigerians should defend themselves.
The Yoruba socio-cultural group Afenifere called for a probe of the allegations made by the former military chief.
Senator Yusuf Abubakar Yusuf drew the attention of the Senate to Gen. Danjuma’s allegations against the military.
The Taraba Central lawmaker sought the leave of the Senate to bring a substantive motion on the issues today to allow senators to debate them.
Yusuf said: “A respected Nigerian and a former Minister of Defence TY Danjuma, on Saturday at a convocation ceremony in Taraba State raised some weighty allegations against the Nigerian Army. The allegation came from a respected Nigerian. I need the permission of the Senate to bring a proper motion tomorrow (today) so that we can debate the allegations raised.”
When Senate President Bukola Saraki sought the permission of the Senate to allow Yusuf to bring a substantive motion on the issues raised by Danjuma, it appeared majority of the lawmakers opposed the proposal.
Saraki who seemed to have made up his mind for the issues raised by Danjuma to be debated, put the proposal to vote for the second time.
The opposition of lawmakers against the proposal grew even louder but Saraki ruled that “the ayes have it.”
Saraki said, “The issues raised by Danjuma are very serious. As a parliament, we can’t allow this to pass. So, when the motion is brought here, lawmakers will have the opportunity to contribute and we will know the next line of action to take.”
Ortom said the kind of advice given by Gen. Damjuma did not mean that people should carry banned arms
Speaking on the criticisms that followed the self-defence advice,Ortom said people misrepresented the message.
According to him, it was a normal thing for people to defend themselves from any attacks.
He said: “There is a misrepresentation of what the former minister said. He did not tell anybody to take up arms. He only said that people should protect themselves. Of course, you know that self-preservation is the first law of nature.
“You can’t just wait in your house and allow someone to come and kill you. You can resist the person, but you don’t necessarily need to have arms. I think that was what the minister was saying. There is need for people to arise to defend themselves, not necessarily using weapons that are banned.
“You can use a stick and disarm someone. Some years ago, I was able to disarm armed robbers bearing seven AK 47 rifles without anything. I think that is the kind of thing he is trying to say. Nigerians should rise up to do this. Security matters are not just left in the hands of security men, it requires every one of us to put our heads together and be courageous to be able to surmount it.” he told State House reporters yesterday.
Former Dean, Faculty of Law, University of Lagos, Prof Akin Oyebode, said Gen. Danjuma’s advice is not a call to anarchy.
Prof. Oyebode said people had to protect themselves when their existence is threatened.
The legal giant, backed the General’s assertion that the country had not demonstrated its capability to protect Nigerians.
He said: “Nigeria being a failing state, unable to render protection to its citizens cannot consider Gen. Danjuma’s call an invitation to anarchy.
“Self-preservation is the first order of nature and people cannot stand idly by in the face of their decimation.
After its meeting yesterday in Akure, the Afenifere called on the United Nations (UN) and President Muhammadu Buhari to launch full scale investigation into allegations leveled against the military by Gen. Danjuma.
Briefing reporters after the meeting, Publicity Secretary Yinka Odumakin noted that if not well probed by the UN and Buhari, such statement by Gen. Danjuma against the military could lead to serious security breaches and lack of trust among ethnic groups in the country.
Afenifere expressed dismay that nobody had been sanctioned or convicted over the incessant herdsmen’s attacks on farmers across the country.
According to the Yoruba leaders, President Buhari must be more decisive in dealing with security issues, hence the need for the federal government to investigate and brought to book any military officer found to be compromising in Benue, Taraba killings and other parts of the country.
The meeting was attended by Yoruba leaders from Ogun, Osun, Ekiti, Ondo, Kwara, Kogi, Lagos and Oyo states. Among them Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Chief Olu Falae, Basorun Sehinde Arogbofa, Chief Mojisoluwa Akinfehinwa, former governor of Ondo state, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, Senator Iyiola Omisore and Prof Tunde Adeniran among others.