The Oasis Reporters
March 28, 2018
By Gora Dauda
The theme of the epistle according to the highly respected and revered Lt Gen T Y Danjuma, one time Chief of Army Staff, Minister of Defence and elder Statesman is to the effect that communities in his home state of Taraba that have been under systematic attacks by Fulani terrorists jihadists should not rely on the Nigerian military to defend them because they will not. In the circumstance therefore, the only option is a recourse to self defence.
The renowned army General was merely ‘re-echoing the obvious since God Almighty and the Constitution of the land have already provided for this as a RIGHT to all of us as citizens of this beleaguered and traumatized nation.
Deeply worrying is the fact that instead of listening first to the message and subjecting its content to proper and analytical scrutiny, many commentators who ought to be listening have been busy with very drab and insulting comments after their little or no analysis of the issues raised by Gen T Y Danjuma.
We have amongst us Military Generals who have been very circumspect with regards to adding their voices to national debates while there have been an almost negligible few who had played prominent roles in railroading this nation down to the Slough of despondency, muddying the waters further.
Of this few are those who had made it almost their business to comment and even criticise the manner in which governance and other matters of government are being conducted. Letter writing has been the principal medium by which these individuals have conducted their comments on governance generally. Since very senior retired military officers rarely comment on governance in a general sense, I thought that now that one such officers has come out of that taciturn culture to put out his views it does not matter how his message has been received, I thought too that commentators should have held their fire first until they have undertaken a critical analysis of the content of the speech before venturing out their largely critical positions. It is very clear beyond any shadow of doubt that many of those who hardly understood the deeper meaning in the General’s viewpoint yet rushed to condemning it do not know what the right to self defence means.
They do not understand too that the Constitution of our nation has guaranteed every Nigerian the right to self defence.
Put differently, the right to defend oneself is ordained by God Almighty which translates to the fact that no legislation can take that right away from anyone of us. There is nowhere in Gen Danjuma’s speech where he urged anybody to pick up arms against any other person or group.
For those who are so overly critical of Gen Danjuma’s speech what is their position with regards to the Fulani terrorists jihadists carrying military styled weapons and openly waging war against our communities?
Do they have a right to be doing what they currently are engaged in with impunity and unchallenged?
We are on the verge of behaving like the Roman mob in Shakespearean times who if someone in the mob shouted for example ” Death to the Emperor ” there will be a chorus of voices shouting ” Death to the Emperor ” without an understanding of why the Emperor deserves death.
The worst case scenario would have been to approach Gen Danjuma’s comments with the caution it deserves. Any concerned body if such have issues with the speech particularly at governmental level should have approached the retired General seeking to know on what facts he anchored his speech.
Knowing the quality in Gen Danjuma, he could not have predicated his speech on sentiments. As it were, some of his kinsmen including 2 Local Council Chairmen have narrated what they clearly believe amounts to the collusion of the military in the carnage in communities in Taraba State. They spoke about the herders having earlier abandoned the area prior only to return when the military launched the current exercises in Taraba and other neighbouring States. With their return, the killings commenced once more. In all of these, it would have been expected that the Fulani killer gangs would have been stopped and the gang members arrested but this is not happening.
There is therefore in my thinking sufficient grounds to suggest collusion from some quarters. In all of this, pertinent questions to be asked include where the logistics with which the attackers conduct their operations come from.
Where do the melt or disappear to that it has become virtually impossible for the security forces to intercept them. This does appear to be why the General concluded that the military facilitates their escape from the killing grounds. If there was reasonable progress made on the ground wherever the security forces are deployed by way of preventing the attacks or arresting those responsible, some level of confidence would have been restored to the victim and vulnerable communities. In the circumstances Gen Danjuma’s call to Tarabans to defend themselves whenever they were under attack makes sense the alternative in the words of the General is ” Death one by one “.
Is there anyone out there holding a. contrary view or even suggesting that communities under attack should continue to fold their arms waiting patiently to be put to the sword? If there are such people I make bold to accuse them of being hypocrites.
Since we have a national responsibility to recover our country from the grasp of the foreign terrorists jihadists the panacea does lie in a collective security arrangement in which everyone is involved and everyone being his/her neighbor’s keeper.
Given the current security situation in this country there exists serious mutual suspicion between the ethnic nationalities and the Fulani. Sadly the Fulani Socio-cultural organization Miyetti Allah which should have been the best partner in overcoming the security challenges our nation is faced with has not been able to overcome pettiness and has therefore essentially been overtly supporting even criminal elements within their fold. Some of the criminal elements within the Fulani have produced video clips of meetings and planning sessions for attacks which they have uploaded on some social media sites. There can be no mistaking the authenticity of the videos because the viewer can clearly see the AK 47s on display as well as listening to the conduct of the meetings in Fulfulde.
Are the security forces not aware of these nauseating videos? The utterly wrong and misleading narrative making the rounds that this country belongs to the Fulani should be done away with as it amounts to a deliberate attempt at falsifying history. History tells us very clearly where the Fulani have their ancestral homeland, and the history books are still available in bookstores everywhere.
This deliberate attempt at distorting or falsifying history obviously is what fuels the attempt at supplanting ethnic communities from their ancestral homelands.
Again Gen TY Danjuma was right to have described the phenomenon as ethnic cleansing. By every standard of the definition of the term “Ethnic cleansing” given the burnt out villages and the mass graves dotting the landscape it will be a futile effort to put the General on the defensive. For The Nigerian Army through their spokesman to outrightly exculpate the Army of the accusation against some of her members before conducting even discreet investigation is not good enough. There may well be fifth columnists in the uniform of the Nigerian Army requiring only discreet and well focused enquiry to unmask.
Recall that very recently in Kaduna men in the uniform of the Nigerian Army were deployed to provide security while the factional headquarters of the APC at No 11b Sambo Road was being demolished. To date the identity of the people in the uniform of the Nigerian Army who were deployed to execute that illegality is yet to be determined. From the various allegations of the illegal use of Nigerian Army personnel, it is a possibility that the uniform of the army may have been acquired by some unscrupulous individuals or groups with the intent of embarrassing the army and by extension, the government.
Written by Gora Dauda.
He writes from Kaduna, north west Nigeria.