The Aku Uka of Wukari and Chairman Taraba State Council of Chiefs, Dr. Shekarau Angyu Masa Ibi (Kuvyo II) on Monday said citizens of Nigeria have lost confidence in military following their involvement in unthinkable acts.
The Monarch disclosed this when he received the Army Probe Panel investigating the allegations of military collusion with armed bandits in attacking innocent citizens in Taraba and other parts of the country.
Rtd. Gen. TY Danjuma had recently accused the Armed Forces of colluding with bandits to kill Nigerians, urging people to rise up and defend themselves.
Aku Uka who thanked the military leadership for setting up the panel noted that, “it is a known fact that citizens of Nigeria have lost confidence in the military in spite of their track record of successful peace missions in other parts of the world.
“I want to remind you members of the panel that Nigerians who are crying for justice are expecting much from you. Also, the armed forces are looking up to your report to help them restore our citizens confidence in the Nigeria military.
“As umpire, Nigerians expect you to be just and fair in your assignment and only a fair, just and transparent report of your panel can restore the lost image of the military,” he said.
Presenting the position of the Wukari traditional council before the panel, the Adviser to the Aku Uka on Media and Legal Affairs, Barr. Danjuma Adamu said the high expectations of the people of the area upon the deployment of Army on Exercise Ayem Akpatuma have not been met as the attacks and killings are still ongoing.
Danjuma who cited several cases of alleged military collusion noted that on several occasions the military deployed to the area refused to act in the defense of the farming communities despite many pleas by the council Chairman and the traditional council, giving credence to the insinuations that they are taking sides with the killer herdsmen.
According to him, on October 19th, 2015, armed fulani militia attacked Sondi in Kente district killing 30 people, adding that residents of the village said soldiers deployed to the area aided the militia in the execution of the pogrom.
“On 10th April, 2018 Gbeji was attacked and five people were killed. On the same day Sontyo village was attacked and destroyed by herdsmen who took over the village and are grazing there as their permanent abode.
“The following day 11th April, 2018 Fulani militia attacked Jandeikyula village killing over 25 people. The soldiers and policemen attempted to face them, but the militia escaped without a single attacker arrested.
“On the whole 200 people have been killed between April 2013 to date, 401 villages destroyed, thousands wounded or maimed and farmlands destroyed.
“The fulani herdsmen have illegally and forcefully taken over the areas and turned them into grazing fields,” he submitted.
While alleging that the attacks and killings were meant to wipe out the indigenous occupants of the area to pavé way for full fulani occupation, the Wukari traditional council appealed to the Federal Government to give the crisis the seriousness it deserves.
In the same vein, Chairman of Wukari Local Government Council, Hon. Daniel Adi in his submission also alleged the complicity of the military in the killings in the area and enjoined the panel to check with the Police Area Command in Wukari for some of the case files involving military personnel aiding movements of the attackers.
Earlier, Chairman of the Probe Panel, Rtd. Maj. Gen. Joseph Nimyel sympathised with the Aku Uka over the loss of lives and destruction of property as a result of series of crisis in the area.
He informed the Monarch that they were in the State as an independent panel to investigate allegations of collusion leveled against the military by Rtd. Gen. TY Danjuma.
Nimyel said the panel will report its findings to the Army Headquarters Abuja, the Taraba State Government and the Federal Government to helping the authorities in their future dealings.