From Nick Yashi, Jalingo
Governor Darius Ishaku of Taraba State has declared that the state government is behind the call by former Defence Minister, Gen. Theophilus Danjuma, on the people to resort to self-defence against armed herdsmen.
A�Danjuma had accused the soldiers deployed in the state for security operations of colluding with the herdsmen to kill the people.
Ishaku hinted on the position of the state on the issue on Thursday, in Jalingo, when he hosted the investigative panel set up by the Chief of Army Staff into Danjumaa��s allegation against the troops.
He said: “We in Taraba State are behind what Gen. Danjuma said…as an Army General with a high reputation, I think that call deserves to be looked into and not to be criticiseda�� he spoke the minds of everyone in Taraba and indeed all Nigerians.”
The governor said that the state was taken unawares by Danjuma’s statement, stressing that, “we have to decide whether we want a country because what is happening would not give us a country.”
He described the setting up of the committee as timely and promised to create a congenial environment for the panel to succeed.
Governor Ishaku said that the frequent attacks by herdsmen led to the promulgation of the Anti-Open Grazing Law after consultations and due process was followed. He asserted that ranching was the best solution to ending the killing by herdsmen.
He decried the activities of soldiers in Taraba who mistreat residents and disarm them of petty arms while ignoring herdsmen with lethal weapons.
Ishaku also debunked the claim by the media that his state government did not complain about all that was happening.
According to him, he had visited the President, the Vice President, as well as written several letters on the alarming situation and therefore the claim couldn’t have been true.
Earlier, the panela��s president, Maj. Gen J.N. Nimyel (rtd), explained the mission of the committee in Taraba.
While alluding to Danjuma’s statement, Nimyel acknowledged the fact that it could impact negatively on the image of the Nigerian Army.
“Statements of this nature which has indeed cut short the reputation of the armed forces of Nigeria which cannot be ignored if the Nigerian Army will continue to earn the trust and respect of the people of Taraba state in particular and Nigeria in general,” he said.
“In line with the current Chief of Army Staff vision of having a responsive andA�A�professional Nigerian Army to discharge its constitutional role as well as its positive disposition towards respect for human rights, it became expedient to set up this independent panel to investigate this very serious allegations,” he said.