The Yoruba Council of Elders, has said Nigerians should not leave their security completely in the hands of the military and other security agencies because they could fail to defend them in times of danger.
Speaking in a in a telephone interview with another newspaper in Osogbo on Sunday, the Assistant Secretary General of the group, Alhaji Suleiman Salami said he agreed with the submissions of Lt. Gen Theophilus Danjuma and also urged Yoruba people to be prepared to defend themselves and their land from the rampaging herdsmen.
This is even as the Vice President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr Monday Ubani has advised the government not to dismiss the allegation by the former Minister of Defence that the recent killings in the country are ethnic cleansing.
The 81-year-old YCE assistant scribe said, “The General is very right. It will be disastrous for people to be attacked and they fold their arms, expecting the government to defend them. If the government is not forthcoming, the people concerned must find a way to defend themselves.
“The President has kept quiet for a long time on the herdsmen atrocities. I recently told some South-West governors and Obas that if we did not prepare to defend ourselves, these herdsmen would just come one day and kill all of us.”
Lt. Gen. Danjuma(retd.), had on Saturday at the maiden convocation of the Taraba State University, told Nigerians to defend themselves against killers, saying the Nigerian Armed Forces were not ready to defend them.
He had said, “There is an attempt at ethnic cleansing in the state (Taraba) and of course, some rural states in Nigeria, we must resist it. We must stop it. Everyone of us must rise up.
Our armed forces are not neutral. They collude with the bandits to kill people, kill Nigerians… If you are depending on the armed forces to stop the killings, you will all die one by one.”
However, the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, said Danjuma’s comment was “highly uncalled for,” and an invitation to anarchy, asking Nigerians to report any member of the armed forces suspected to be colluding with herdsmen.
Also speaking on the matter, Ubani said rather than dismiss the allegation, the government should take his words with seriousness, investigate it and determine its veracity, emphasising that given his caliber, whatever he says carry a lot of weight.
According to Ubani: “Danjuma is not a small personality in Nigeria. He was once Chief of Army Staff (CoAS) and Defence Minister.
“He has been a top rated Nigerian whose views carry a high level of weight. So for him to speak and say what he said, I think the government and the military should take those words he has spoken very seriously and try to investigate especially if you noticed, this particular statement he made, has been corroborated by some of the locals in Plateau and even in Taraba where they allege that some times, military give cover to these herdsmen, guide them to feed on their farms.
“These are allegations which any serious government must investigate and authenticate its veracity.
“Don’t dismiss it or attack the personality of the man who has made it. What I expect the government to do is to investigate the allegation to determine whether what he said is true or otherwise. Where these statement has been corroborated by the locals who are resident in these places, there should be some level of truth in it.
“Our military must be warned to resist any attempt to be partisan, they must remain impartial. They are men and women who have been employed to protect the territorial integrity and citizens of this country and not to take side and begin to kill the citizens they were supposed to protect,” he emphasised.