By Chibuike Nwabuko
Abuja (Sundiata Post) – Acting Director of Defense Information, Brig Gen John Agim, has reacted to Lt. Gen. Theophilus Danjuma’s allegation of military collusion with herdsmen in Taraba, said Politicians send thugs to attack people but turn around and label it herdsmen.
In an interview with Punch, Agim tackled the state government’s rejection of the Army panel’s report on Danjuma’s allegation, pointing out that though the panel conducted interviews with all those involved, it could not get comments from Danjuma.
Agim also stated that some politicians send thugs to attack people, and then label them as herdsmen. According to him, “The panel report interviewed everyone it was supposed to interview. But it was unable to get comments from Lt. Gen. TY Danjuma (retd.).
But the panel report was not for the Taraba State Government to agree with or not. “Let me assure you that the military is being careful not to bring out a report that will be misinterpreted as political.”
He continued: “The problem which the state government (not only in Taraba) have with the military is that when the military came in, they thought the soldiers were coming to enforce their laws. Is that the military’s responsibility? “If the military goes in and says it wants to enforce the state’s anti-grazing laws, then it means the military is doing the work of the state government. The military is not supposed to enforce those laws. So we told them we are coming to make sure that there is security.
“It was also discovered that there were a lot of people carrying arms, including the herdsmen. So we said nobody should carry arms; anybody who carries arms shall be arrested. But they (the state governments) don’t want their own people to surrender their arms.
“During this period, we also discovered that some politicians were using their thugs against another community within the same state, and they made it looked as if herdsmen were attacking the people.
Some of these people were arrested. “For instance, in a local government area, there are two communities fighting against each other and we arrested some people with arms. We did not want to blow it up because it will be misinterpreted. “Some of the suspects arrested and stopped from carrying out that vandalism told us that some politicians sent them against another community to carry out those attacks. So the state government said they did not agree with the Army panel, but they have not given any cogent reasons.
“The Army panel also included indigenes of that (Taraba) state. The retired general who headed the committee and the members of the panel are from that state; they have something at stake.”
Agim insisted that there is no collusion between the military and herdsmen. He said: “The military has no reason to collude with herdsmen because a good number of the troops serving in that operation are from that region. People should not play politics with security issues because if we do, it will not do anybody any good.”
Sundiata Post recalls that Lieutenant General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma had on March 24, 2018 at the Taraba State University Convocation in Jalingo, the state capital accused the Military of covering those behind the killings in Taraba and Benue states which has claimed scores of lives this year alone.
Recall that there was a report also that the Jukun Development Association of Nigeria (JDAN) rejected the “no guilty” verdict of the Gen John Nimyel’s panel, which investigated former Chief of Army Staff.
JDAN national president, Chief Bako Benjaminin who made this known in Lagos, said the panel’s report falls far short of expectations and can at best be described as a shoddy job fit for the waste bin.