A civil society group, Middle Belt Conscience Guard has accused former minister of defence, Gen Theophilus Danjuma (rtd) as well as the Taraba state governor, Mr Darius Ishiaku of fueling the armed conflict in the state.
The group specifically accused the governor of arming militia groups in the state to carry out attacks on other ethnic groups, which consequently fueled reprisals in other states of the Middle-Belt and beyond.
Addressing journalists in Abuja, national president of the group, Prince Raymond Enero said unfortunately, the resources that should have been committed to poverty reduction have been diverted for arms purchase, therefore impoverishing the people even the more.
According to him the statement by the former defence minister calling on residents to take up arms offers new perspective to the killings going on in the state.
He said the federal government and the Nigerian Army must on their parts ensure they are not caught unawares since Danjuma has made his intention known.
According to him, they must escalate the mopping-up of illegal weapons in the affected areas, stressing that the intelligence community and the civil police must be activated to investigate the connections between those killing Nigerians under the cover of whatever crisis and those calling for people to bear arms against fellow citizens.
He said, “This is why we find it ridiculous that Danjuma decided to describe the mop-up of arms by the army as “taking sides”. As an ex-military man who knows the security implication of free-flowing light firearms and weapons, it is most unfortunate that he is rather allowing his darker side to drive his worldview in this matter.
“We suspect that the retired general would have preferred a repeat of Zaki Biam, when the military flattened an entire community under his watch as Minister of Defence. He had possibly expected that the army would have assisted him in carrying out the ethnic cleansing he has in mind.”
Enero said the military under it’s current leadership doesn’t not only respect diversity but is now under obligation to observe rules of engagement that meet international standard.