A Middle belt based civil society group, Middle Belt Conscience Guard, has faulted the call by former minister of defence, Gen TY Danjuma to residents to take up arms and defend themselves.
The group said such action would only escalate the chaos in the region, saying as former military chief and an elder statesman, Gen Danjuma should be leading the call for peace and not to fuel the crisis any further.
Addressing journalists in Abuja, the National President, Prince Raymond Enero, said the group will not hesitate to drag the retired general to court should the violence in the region escalate.
According to him, TY Danjuma should as a matter of national security retract the statement and issue a fresh call for people to trust in the commitment of the state to peacefully address whatever challenges beset the areas affected by farmers/herders’ clashes.
Enero said, “We therefore call on General Danjuma to clarify his comments because we are willing to accept the excuse that he might have mixed up what he intended to say on account of his advanced age. Where he fails to walk back his dangerous directive, we hereby put him on notice that he shall be held liable for any degeneration in the security situation in all the jurisdiction where he has called on people to resort to self-help.
“He will be dragged before the competent legal authorities – domestic and international – for any life lost because of his declaration of war.
“The federal government and the Nigerian Army must on their parts ensure they are not caught unawares.
They must escalate the mopping-up of illegal weapons in the affected areas.
“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.”
Enero said the military under the current leadership does not only respect the country’s diversity but is under obligation to observe rules of engagement that meet international standard and should continue to be neutral.
He said, “This military respects diversity. This military has a demand on it by Nigerians to respect democracy. This military is gone past replicating the massacre of innocent civilians at Odi and Zaki Biam.”