By Codratus Godson
The news making the rounds since Saturday (March 24, 2018) is the angry outburst of the topmost indigene of Taraba State, General Theophilus Danjuma, who has advised Nigerians to defend themselves from the rampaging killers called Fulani Herdsmen.
An Army General (serving or retired) at all times ought to create more confidence in the armed forces of his country, but whatever makes such one to openly denounce the age-old pact between the citizens and the Government must be serious.
Gen Danjuma (Rtd) is noted in African military history as the officer who had much to do with the killing of his Commander-in-Chief (Johnson Aguyi-Ironsi) in the 1966 coup. To this day, the body of the brief-serving but Nigeria’s first Military Head of State has not been found nor has it been given state burial. The demand for the body is one of the conditions given for peace and for staying on in ‘One Nigeria’ by the secessionist Biafran head, Col Odumegwu Ojukwu (now lretired and late). The body was not retured in accordance with the ‘Aburi Accord’, and Biafra seceded for 30 months before surrendering under an OAU cease-fire deal.
The same Danjuma that joined in excuting ‘revenge’ for the North and later was prepared and actually fought for ‘One Nigeria’ from his Middle Belt point of view, is now calling on citizens to take over defending themselves as a way of defending the nation.He is seen to be angry with the same region he may have killed for.
Many things have happened between 1966 and now to make Danjuma so angry to call for armed citizens’ action against those killing commuities. He is from Taraba, a key Middle Belt State and everyone knows that most Middle-Belters feel abandoned by the North at this point in time; they feel threatened and vulnerable under an advancing and rampaging killing force masquerading as herdsmen. Some theories say the killers actually are Jihadists from Central Africa hiding as local herdsmen. Some say they are from ISWA (Isis West Africa) using whatever covers available to launch a violent crusade in West Africa, starting with Nigeria.
From a Middle Belt point of view, the herdsmen have waged killing campaigns in Taraba for years. The Jukun ethnic people to which Danuja belongs are premominatly farmers while the Normdic Fulani are herdsmen. Cows eat grasses (and crops look and taste like grasses). Farmers do kill cows killing their crops, and herdsmen do kill farmers killing their cows. Peace-makers used to intervene. Now, not anymore! A new crop of herdsmen has emerged that kill everyday, provoked or not, and the farmers are pepertually fighting back. This has creatd a permanent ssense of war in Taraba and Plateau. This sense is now coming to Benue, and also to Enugu, Kogi and Delta, as if it is truly on the way to the Atlantic Ocean.
Danjuma is a PDP kingpin, and can therefore be said to be an opposition chief, but was he talking politics when he spoke in Jalingo on Saturday? He was visibly angry, showing that he was talking outside politics. He has vast farm lands and farm investments and with these killings and herdsmen invasion, his lifelong investments and his age-old relations must be perishing.
The implication of this call to national protection is huge. For an Army General to say that the Army is rather working for invaders is serious charge. To say that the solution is self-defence is greater fear because the essence of sovereignty is for the Soverign to defend the subjects and for subjects to hand over loyalty to the Soverign. It implies loyalty by tax and handover of all weapons of violence. If the Soverign can no longer protect the Subject, it would amount to the breakdown of the Social Contract, and in this state of Anormie, the Subject has right to defend himself. In such a state, there can be no Soverignty. It will become survival of the fittest. Is that where we are, or where we are closely heading to?
To answer this question, read Danjuma yourself and interpret;
Retired Lt. General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma has urged Nigerians to defend themselves from killers across the country instead of depending on the armed forces.
Danjuma, a former chief of army staff from 1976-1979, said this today in a live telecast programme of the 10th anniversary of the Taraba State University, Jalingo, as he also made a grave accusation against the armed forces, accusing them of providing cover and defending the killers.
“You must rise to protect yourselves from these people. If you depend on the armed forces for protection, you will all die one by one”, said a visibly angry Danjuma.
“The ethnic cleansing must stop now. Otherwise, Somalia will be a child’s play. I ask everyone of you to be on the alert and defend your country, defend your territory, defend your state, because you have nowhere else to go.
“The armed forces are not neutral. They are conniving with the armed bandits that are killing people,” he said.
Danjuma described Taraba as a miniature Nigeria with beautiful cultures which the bandits were doing everything to destroy.
Taraba, the home state of the retired general, had witnessed, like the Middle Belt states of Plateau, Benue, Kogi, Nasarawa, clashes between herdsmen and farmers, leading to many deaths. Herdsmen alleged that about 800 of them were killed on the Mambilla Plateau, a charge the Taraba state government has denied.
There have also been the problems of banditry and cattle rustling in some North Western states, especially Zamfara, which President Muhammadu Buhari visited on Thursday. There he ordered the armed forces to stop the killings all over the country.
Across the country have been reports of either banditry, herdsmen killing farmers or their hosts and kidnapping.
Danjuma’s advice was that all Nigerians should protect themselves, rather than waiting for the armed forces alone to protect them.