Gashaka – The traditional ruler of Gashaka in Gashaka Local Government Area of Taraba, Alhaji Zubairu Hammangabdo, has called on Defence Headquarters to empower soldiers of 20 Mechanised Battalion in Serti with facilities and trained personnel to improve surveillance to rid the area of criminal elements.
Hammangabdo, who is the Lamdo of Gashaka, made the appeal on Sunday when he received military fact finding team set up by Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai to investigate an allegation
by former defence minister, Retired Lt.-Gen. Theophilus Danjuma.
Danjuma had on March 24, 2018 at the convocation of Taraba State University in Jalingo, alleged that the
armed forces in Taraba and other states colluded with killers and marauding herdsmen and did not protect the people against attacks.
Hammangabdo said the Gashaka-Gumti National Park, located in his domain, which he said was larger than the dreaded Sambisa forest, was capable of being a save haven for criminals.
He added that the local government, which had never experienced any crisis since its creation, had
become home to many peace-loving Nigerians.
The crisis in the North East and the recent communal clashes between Mambilla and Fulani groups in the neighbouring Sardauna Local Government led to increase in the number of people seeking refuge in the area, he noted.
He explained that “the influx of people and presence of the Gashaka Gumti National Park in this area may turn the place to save haven for criminal elements.
“We are appealing to Defence Headquarters to empower soldiers of the 20 Mechanised Battalion in Serti with facilities and trained personnel to improve surveillance to rid the area of criminal elements.”
He commended the the chief of army staff for setting up the panel.
The Chairman of the probe team, Retired Maj.-Gen. John Nimyel, told the traditional ruler that the group
also visited Gembu, headquarters of Sardauna Local Government Area, being one of the areas worst hit by the recent violence, as part of efforts to get to the root of the retired general’s allegations.
While suing for peace, Nimyel urged the traditional institutions to be at the forefront in mapping out strategies for peaceful coexistence among the various ethnic groups living in their domains.
The chief of army staff had raised a committee to clear the reputation of the Nigerian Army, saying such allegation cannot be ignored.
While inaugurating the committee in Abuja, Buratai said “statements of this nature could damage the reputation of the armed forces of Nigeria and thus cannot be ignored if Nigerian Army will continue to earn the trust of the Nigerian populace.
“It became imperative for the Nigerian Army to set up this panel to confirm the veracity or otherwise of the allegations, the need for the Nigerian army to get it very clear and to get its name out of the