It appears that erstwhile Defence minister, Gen. Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma (retd.), who yesterday accused the armed forces of colluding with bandits killing Nigerians, is living in a glass house yet chose to throw stones daming the repercautions. This is in view of allegations that he “leads the militia wreaking killings in Mabilla Plateau and provides cover for them in such atrocious activities”.
Speaking on Saturday at the maiden convocation of the Taraba State University in Jalingo, the state capital, Danjuma, a former chief of army staff, said, “The armed forces are not neutral. They collude with the armed bandits to kill people, kill Nigerians.”
The Nigerian Army, in its reaction, described the above statement as most unfortunate, noting that the elder statesman went as far as calling on the people of Taraba state to take up arms and defend themselves. It pointed out that a gallant non-commission officer of the Nigerian Army was beheaded on March 16, 2018 in Takum, Taraba state by criminal elements.
This reaction was contained in a statement issued by the Army spokesman, Texas Chukwu, who pointed out that “the Taraba State Government, did not cooperate with the Nigerian Army due to the Army’s stance to remain absolutely neutral in the herdsmen-farmers crisis. The Nigerian Army will continue to remain as such.”
The highly-influential Danjuma is believed to be the godfather of Taraba politics and has the ears of the state government. As Defence minister, he was alleged to have compromised troops to massacre innocent women and children at Zaki Biam, Benue state in 2001.
He has a history of brutality in his heydays as a military officer. As Rudolf Okonkwo wrote, “Captain Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma came into prominence when he led a group of soldiers to abduct the former head of state, Gen. Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi and his host, the military governor of Western region, Lieutenant Colonel Adekunle Fajuyi, from government house Ibadan on the night of July 29, 1966.
“Under Danjuma’s orders, Gen. Aguiyi-Ironsi was spat on, slapped, kicked and punched. With Ironsi’s hands tied behind his back with telephone cord, Danjuma’s soldiers crushed his testicles with their military boots. Ironsi was then dragged on the ground from a moving military Range Rover, skin torn by gravels on the road, blood oozed from his mouth, face swelled, bones cracked and body parts dismembered. And finally he was shot several times and his bullet-ridden, mangled body was dumped in a forest near Iwo road. And so saw his host, Fajuyi.”
It is ironic that it is man with this kind of history is now claiming moral high ground to accuse troops on Exercise AYEM AKPATUMA of conniving with marauders to kill innocent Nigerians.
A community leader in Taraba state, who did not want his name in print, told TheNigerian, “I didn’t trust TY Danjuma. I cannot trust him now. He is an enemy.
“TY Danjuma, a Jukun man, as Minister of Defence coordinated the operation that led to what is Zaki-Biam massacre. He ill-informed President Obasanjo about the true situation.
“Yes, there was crisis in Taraba State between the farming Tiv communities and the Jukuns…and that wasn’t the first time but the Nigerian Military had never been directly involved in communal dispute at that magnitude. Never!
“At about the same time, there was, again, a communal dispute between the Tiv people of Moon District in Kwande LGA and Jukuns of Kashimbilah, Takun LGA. Danjuma fueled the crisis by drafting a military detachment to Kashimbilah, a very insignificant border town in Taraba.
“They came with armoured tanks and all sorts of weapons. The detachment remains to this minute…and the Jukuns had severally used them against us. The military detachment there is now in the hands of fulanis.
“When we (The people of Moon District) petitioned the Federal Government through the Presidential Panel on Right Abuses by the Nigerian Military which recently ended their findings, TY Danjuma’s name was mentioned. We presented undisputable facts including the picture of the sub-machine gun our people recovered and handed over to the DPO at Adikpo. The army representatives at the hearing couldn’t deny the facts.
“TY Danjuma is directly responsible for the sacking of the Tiv communities in Taraba and parts of Benue. He is an enemy.”