Tag Archives: Nigerian politics

Looted funds: PDP seeks proscription of APC

Loot for campaign: PDP demands proscription of APC

By Dirisu Yakubu
ABUJA-The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has charged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to immediately proscribe the All Progressives Congress (APC) following the “undisputed revelations that it financed Muhammadu Buhari’s 2015 campaign with looted funds.”

The party, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, yesterday also gave the Buhari-led presidency a three-day ultimatum to respond to allegations that it was elected with looted funds or find itself top of the list of confirmed looters.

The party said instead of the Presidency and the APC to come out with a response on how President Buhari’s 2015 campaign was funded with looted sums, “they are busy hallucinating about names of individuals,” whose matters are before the courts of competent jurisdiction.

The statement read: “Now that the APC, the federal government, Alhaji Lai Mohammed and the Buhari Presidency have chosen a loud silence rather than accepting that looted funds were used to install Buhari as President in 2015, we charge INEC to do the needful by commencing the process for the proscription of the APC as a political party.

“It is evidently clear that the APC, federal government and the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, are running away from the issue of how they raised money to install Buhari as President.

“They have pressed the panic button and resorted to unfounded allegations against PDP members just to divert the attention of Nigerians and the international community from their atrocious government and its manifold failures of leadership.

“The PDP will not join the panicky APC and the federal government in their resort to engage in matters that are subjudice because we believe and respect the Rule of Law, particularly, as it concerns the rights of every citizens.

“We know those in the APC and Buhari’s cabinet, who as champions of looting, plundered the resources of their various states and handed same over for the very expensive electioneering campaign of President Buhari, who had earlier confessed of his insolvency.

“We have challenged the APC and the Presidency to declare the sources of these funds and how they were used since they have been proven to come from public coffers.”

Source: Vanguard


Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma, The General Who Shouldn’t Throw Stones

Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma, The General Who Shouldn’t Throw Stones

By Oladimeji Odeyemi

General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma, a once Chief of the Nigerian Army and one time Nigeria’s Minister of Defence had on Saturday, March 24, 2018, during the convocation ceremony of the Taraba State University accused the Nigerian Military of being far from neutral in the recent killings happening in certain parts of the North. The retired General also opined that the Armed Forces were in the habit of covering those behind the attacks.

He also insinuated that the citizenry will be deceived as to believe the Armed Forces are there to serve them, his final submission was as queer as all that he had to say — The people he advised, should consider defending themselves, otherwise, they will die, “one by one”!

Undoubtedly, our dear country, Nigeria, is going through a score of security challenges in which many human lives have been lost to both armed bandits and communal clashes. Such heightened clashes and banditry, have claimed scores of lives this year alone.

As such, the situation for concern does exist. And perhaps, the matter of incessant and seemingly segregated attacks on the Northern minorities must be seen as beyond happenstances to warrant such a strong reaction from such an important figure as retired General Danjuma is.

Between the year 2012 and 2015, the Boko Haram insurgency and terror engulfed no less than nine states of the North, and the then President Goodluck Jonathan was even accused of being the creator of terror among other things.

Our security forces were so overwhelmed that even Abuja the seat of power was attacked a few times by the terrorists.

All of these were damning for the then President and the nation’s Armed Forces too were accused of even aiding the terrorists, simply because the people were greatly traumatised.

It was a new kind of war that fighting terror is, not a conventional war against a standard army. Terrorists are civilians who mingle unsuspectingly with the people and remain largely undetected.

The situation needed a new kind of approach and perhaps a new government that the people would have the confidence in that they will be protected.

And on this basis, was President Buhari, elected.

Also, based on this conviction has Nigerians in the three years down the line of Buhari’s rule, been collectively satisfied that this administration has greatly reduced the Boko Haram terror to bare nothingness.

Churches and Mosques that used to be bombed every Sunday and Friday from Maiduguri to Jos have become a distant history…. Months have gone on without a single terror incident occurring. Even the advanced countries are not free of terror.

No doubt President Buhari has done exceedingly well on the war against terror.

The Nigerian Army, since the advent of General Tukur Yusufu Buratai has also by the same extension done exceedingly well to upturn the battered image of the Nigerian Army that suffered greatly due to the general loss of confidence in it during the time of President Jonathan, and this fact cannot be too overstretched either.

I won’t let anyone make me believe for once that Nigeria is not by far, better off now, with all the efforts put in by both the President and the Army to combat not only the Boko Haram terror but also the greater challenges of banditry, communal clashes, foreign incursions and other criminalities that have sprung up in the two to three years since this government came on board.

That people like General T Y Danjuma believe this administration has not done enough or the army is not neutral, is based on the resurgence of some isolated attacks by Boko Haram or the various bandits, foreign elements, militias disguising as herdsmen as we are all made to believe.

And with all the monies stolen, running into billions of dollars, meant for procurement of military equipment by the last administration, Nigerians should rather be thankful to this very committed Armed Forces that have continued to fight all our numerous security challenges with inadequate funds and Equipment.

General Danjuma and others should be insisting on proper funding of the Army and the Armed Forces to be able to effectively tackle all our very pressing and serious security issues.

To those who believe that the President is in support of a particular group killing another, or the Military is partisan, let it be known that it will simply not be possible in a country like Nigeria, let alone an agenda of a President to be adopted by an independent and professional institution like the Nigerian Armed Forces.

The Nigerian Army will not sanction the killing of innocent Nigerians under any guise, it is simply not possible.

And if the truth must be said, the Army has lost many of its gallant soldiers to these bandits and the army has killed and arrested many more of the so-called Fulani Herdsmen — Wherefore has the very idea of the army aiding and abetting the criminals come to be in the mind of General Danjuma…!?

If anything, this President and the Nigerian Armed Forces, have shown the political will to fight insecurity in this country than what the last administration ever did….. Nigerians must never forget where we are coming from. Nigerians must never forget we are fighting a different kind of war.

Our soldiers are now well-motivated than ever, they are getting required support as at when needed, army headquarters relocated to Maiduguri where it is most needed, gone are the days when all our army generals will sit tight in Abuja in the comfort of their luxurious apartments and receive situation reports on the phone or by signals only.

The Inspector General of Police was directed to relocate to Benue state because the President wanted an immediate end to the carnage being perpetrated there.

Recently, the American President signed off on a deal to sell twelve super Tucano fighter jets to Nigeria, eight Mi-35M attack helicopters from Russia, five Super Mushshak aircraft from Pakistan, Yabhon Flash 20 Remote Piloted aircraft from the UAE all because this government is serious about fighting insecurity.

Not forgetting that President Muhammadu Buhari released a helicopter from the Presidential fleet to our troops for added support on this fight against all forms of insecurity, because he believes securing Nigeria and Nigerians should come before his own comfort.

What we are used to seeing in the recent past is the National Security Adviser, dispensing dollars to politicians, instead of fortifying our arsenal.

While we all sympathise with the people of Benue, Taraba, and victims of Terror and Banditry in other states, we should not be so carried away as to stir up inter-tribal wars of attrition that are capable of aggravating the situation.

Our soldiers should be rather well motivated with encouraging words; the war they are fighting is not a conventional war that they are used to… They should also be praised for restraint in the face of tensed situations that have not led to indiscriminate military actions like we had in Odi some years back.

Western leaders who used to tag us as a fantastically corrupt country will tell us now that Buhari’s administration is one with sincerity of purpose.

Our expectations might be high, which is natural, but one never knows how hard it is to fight in an unconventional war, from the comforts of their palaces.. until one has experienced it, a conventional war defies strict military training solutions.

His wakeup call might be good, but his accusation of non-neutrality is not.

His lamentation on the state of insecurity might also be needful, but not his assertiveness to people to pick up arms, that is a call to anarchy.

Condemning is natural for us humans. Patience is key so that we don’t escalate our insecurity issues to a full-scale tribal war.

In this regard, it is better to state empirically the facts as it is so that Nigerians can best be served and the fears of General Danjuma, addressed.

The military has in place, “Exercise Cat Race”, an operation that engages troops to curb the menace of the herdsmen-farmers conflict and other criminal activities in the North Central Region amongst others.

And while living up to its task of safeguarding the nation, some of the officers and personnel of our armed forces, have paid the supreme price in the battle against criminality.

For instance, a gallant non-commission officer of the Nigerian Army was beheaded on 16 March, 2018 in Takum Taraba State by these same criminals that General Danjuma has claimed the Armed forces are aiding and abetting.

And there are other officers too that daily are in danger.

It is therefore highly uncalled for, an invitation to anarchy that civilians should take up arms to defend themselves… By this, indiscriminate use of arms is certainly not a call to make, as it will lead to the breakdown of law and order in the country.

It should be disregarded by all well-meaning Nigerians.

The Nigerian Armed Forces has over the years earned international accolades for the sheer professionalism and patriotism in all its engagements, and this situation too will pass. Tensions are high, but higher is the stakes that can lead to anarchy.

A well organised and highly professional Armed Forces, motivated and appreciated will do us all, far more good than to accuse our Armed Forces, which comprises of all the tribes of complicity in discharging its constitutional mandate.

This situation in a democracy allows for expression and freedom of speech. But it should not be taken to the level of loose and gaseous expressions that are without proofs.

If our respected General has any evidence of wrongdoing or of dereliction of duty against our Armed Forces he should please bring them forward rather than to be making a blanket and generalised statements that can throw the entire polity into a flaming discord.

It is also important to state that the frustration in the situation might be evident and embedded in the painful outburst of General Danjuma.

We need to all do more as Nigerians.

Once upon a time, General Ibrahim Babangida cried out that “Nigerian economy had defied all known solutions”.

At another time, the same General Danjuma had to throw in the towel as Minister of Defence in President Obasanjo’s administration, when the usual Nigeria problems of selfishness, self-interest, over national interests, were the order of the day.

Former President Jonathan said, Boko Haram had penetrated into his government, into his cabinet and traced their presence also, to the Legislative and Judicial arms of government… These are issues that this present administration have also inherited.

To date, known and unknown financiers of Boko Haram remain unmasked and elusive. The army under the leadership of General Tukur Yusufu Buratai has managed to catch some notable backers and financiers of Boko Haram and I am sure in the no distant future, the backers of the herdsmen criminalities in the North Central zone will also be fished out by our Hardworking military leaders.

In truth, our gallant soldiers deserve every support and encouragement we could muster, we need from them, accountability and transparency in respect to human and material resources vis a vis the economy of the cost and opportunity cost implications of the unresolved crisis.

But for us, Nigerians too should do more to help alleviate the problems of poverty, destitution, and insecurity in the affected areas.

The major cause of insurgency is frustration and poverty. Our politicians too should do so much more.

The wake-up call is for all of us to be alert to our responsibilities. We are the government, not just President Muhammadu Buhari and his cabinet. They are only the beneficiaries of our freely given mandates that must be supported.

Comrade Oladimeji Odeyemi is the President of National Committee of Yoruba Youth (NCYY) contributed this piece from Lagos

BREAKING: FG Releases Names Of ‘Looters’

BREAKING: FG Releases Names Of ‘Looters’

PDP Chairman, Uche Secondus

The Federal Government has released a list of some of those who have allegedly looted the nation’s treasury.

The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammad, released the list during a press conference in Lagos on Friday.

Mohammad said the individuals include officials in the past government.

The names in the list revealed by the Federal Government include PDP chieftains who are currently being tried for corruption and financial crimes.

“The PDP has challenged us to name the looters under their watch. They said they did not loot the treasury. Well, I am sure they know that the treasury was looted dry under their watch. Yet they decided to grandstand. This shows the hollowness of their apology,” Mohammed said as he released the names.

Find the list below and the allegations against them by the Federal Government…

PDP Chairman Uche Secondus.
Allegation: On the 19th of Feb 2015, he took N200 million only from the office of the NSA.

Former PDP Financial Secretary.
Allegation: On the 24th of Oct 2014, he took N600 million only from the office of former NSA.

Former National Publicity Secretary Olisah Metuh.
On trial for allegedly collecting N1.4bn from the office of former NSA.

Dr Raymond Dokpesi, Chairman of DAAR Communications.
On trial for allegedly taking N2.1 billion from the office of the former NSA.

Former SSA to President Goodluck Jonathan, Dudafa Waripamo-Owei
On trial, over N830 million allegedly kept in accounts of four different companies.

Former President Goodluck Jonathan’s Cousin Robert Azibaola
On Thursday, a Federal High Court ruled that he has a case to answer for allegedly collecting $40 million from the office of former NSA.

The decision by the APC-led government to reveal the names of the alleged looters and the funds allegedly stolen is in response to the opposition party, PDP’s, challenge to the government to name those alleged to have looted the country and destroyed the economy.

Mohammed said this list is just a tip of the iceberg, and the APC did not make these cases up as some of them currently have cases in court.

“They are in court and the records are available. Some of the people on this list are seeking to plea bargain, and that is a fact.

“We insist that Nigeria was looted blind under the watch of the PDP and that the starting point in tendering an apology is for them to return the loot,” he said.

Mohammad said further that the APC will not stop talking about the alleged looting by the PDP.

“We will not stop talking about the massive looting by the PDP. They brought Nigeria to this sorry pass. We are now looking around for loans to build infrastructure, and they ask us not to talk about it. We will talk about it,” he said.

Source: Channels TV

Jumbo pay: RMAFC disowns N13.5m running cost for senators

RMAFC disowns N13.5m running cost for senators

The Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) has disowned senators’ N13.5million monthly running cost. RMFAC is the body responsible for fixing public officials’ wages.
“The payment of running cost is not part of RMAFC mandate. Therefore, only the National Assembly can explain it,” the RMFAC said yesterday.
Spokesman Ibrahim Mohammed, in a statement in Abuja, said the law on Salaries and Allowances of Public Office Holders is very clear.
He said only the management of the National Assembly Service Commission could explain the N13.5 million running cost allegedly being enjoyed by each senator.
According to Mohammed, the Remuneration Act only covers salary and allowances.
He said the clarification became imperative in view of the recent revelation by Sen. Shehu Sani (Kaduna Central-APC), who was reported to have disclosed to the public that each senator collects monthly N13.5 million as running cost.
Sani had said that this was in addition to the monthly salary of N750, 000 prescribed by the “Certain Political, Public and Judicial Office Holders (Salaries and Allowances, etc.) (Amendments) Act 2008.”
Mohammed said each senators collects N1.06 million salary and allowances, according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
The figure consists of the following: Basic-N168,866, motor vehicle fueling and maintenance allowance; and N126,650, Personal Assistant N42,216.
“Domestic Staff-N126,650, Entertainment-N50,660,Utilities-N50,660, Newspapers/Periodicals-N25,330, Wardrobe -N42,216, House Maintenance –N8,443 and Constituency-N422,166.”
Some allowances are regular; others are non-regular, Mohammed said.
“Regular allowances are paid regularly with basic salaries, while non-regular allowances are paid when due.
“For instance, furniture allowance of N6.079 million and severance gratuity of N6.079 million are paid once every tenure while motor vehicle loan of N8.1 million is optional, which the beneficiary has to offset before leaving office.”
Mohammed also said auditing did not fall within the commission’s purview.
He said any other payments being enjoyed by any political or public office holder outside those provided in the Remuneration Act of 2008 were not known to the commission.
He added that the Chief Accounting Officers of the agencies concerned should explain such payments.
Mohammed advised that Nigerians should avoid misinformation and misrepresentation of facts capable of misleading citizens and members of the international community.
He said that they could access the actual details of the remuneration package for Political, Public and Judicial Office holders in Nigeria published on its website: http://www.rmafc.gov.ng, http://www.rmafc.gov.ng.

FG mocks PDP over apology, asks former ruling party to return looted funds first

FG to PDP: Your apology not enough until you return looted funds

BY Emmanuel Elebeke

ABUJA– The Federal Government has asked the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to go the whole hog with its apology to Nigerians by returning all the funds looted from the public treasury under its watch during its 16 years in power.

In a statement issued in Abuja on Tuesday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, also challenged the party to show the genuineness of its apology through a discernible change of attitude.

He said , ”The PDP presided over an unprecedented looting of the public treasury, perhaps the worst of its kind in Nigeria or anywhere else in the world. Therefore, the best evidence of penitence for such a party is not just to own up and apologize, but to also return the looted funds. Anything short of that is mere deceit.

”Even with the paucity of funds, this Administration has spent an unprecedented amount of money on infrastructural development and Social Investment Programme, among others. Returning looted funds will provide more money for these programmes and make life more meaningful for Nigerians. There is no better apology than that.”

Alhaji Mohammed also reminded the PDP of the quote: ”If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging,” saying it applies to the PDP at this time.

”PDP, press the reset button. Stop sabotaging the work of this Administration, which is packing the mess you left behind, through your reckless statements and unfounded allegations. Play responsible opposition politics. Put Nigeria’s interest over and above partisan interest. Temper your desperation to return to power. Spend quality time in the purgatory and you will be forgiven,” he added

Source: Vanguard

We’re sorry for our misdeeds, PDP begs Nigerians for another chance

We’re sorry for our misdeeds, PDP begs Nigerians

•Forgive, but allow them stay in purgatory — APC
•Bode George in U-turn, pledges loyalty to Secondus
•Jonathan alleges smear campaign against him
By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor & Dirisu Yakubu
ABUJA—The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, yesterday, apologised for the mistakes made in the 16 years it held the reins of power at the federal level.

The apology was immediately welcomed by the All Progressives Congress, APC, which urged Nigerians to forgive the former ruling party but demanded restitution in the form of relegation to purgatory for the PDP.

The face-off came as former President Goodluck Jonathan, through whom the PDP lost power, alleged a concerted plot by some unnamed interests to smear him.

Jonathan, whose administration had been the focus of relentless reproach by senior officials of the Muhammadu Buhari administration, made the allegation on a Facebook posting on his wall.

Meanwhile, the scheme to rebuild the PDP gained traction yesterday after one of the party’s hitherto displeased founding fathers, Chief Bode George, pledged loyalty to the Uche Secondus-led leadership.

National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, admitted the party’s mistakes in power and asked for forgiveness from Nigerians at a public discourse on contemporary politics and governance in Nigeria, organized by the party in Abuja.

Speaking on the theme, “Nation Building: Resetting the agenda,” Secondus pledged the readiness of the PDP to learn from its mistakes, arguing that regardless of what the party failed to do, experience remains the best teacher.

PDP made many mistakes — Secondus

“I am the very first to admit that our party, the Peoples Democratic Party of Nigeria, made many mistakes. Consequently, we were roundly sanctioned by Nigerians occasioning our loss at the polls in 2015.

“Let me seize this opportunity to apologise to Nigerians unequivocally for the several shortcomings of our party in the near and far past. It was all part of an evolution process without which there can be no maturity.

“The PDP has embarked on a rescue mission, and together we will salvage this nation back from the grip of the incompetent All Progressives Congress, APC,” said Secondus.

His confession nonetheless, the APC yesterday asked Nigerians to demand restitution from the PDP in the form of relegating it to purgatory.

“Apology can only come with restitution; you cannot apologise without atoning for your sins,” APC National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, told Vanguard yesterday.

“Nigerians should accept their apology, but they should allow them to spend sufficient time in purgatory to ensure that they are sufficiently purged of the sins that they committed over those 16 years.

“Now that they have realised their sins, they have to spend sufficient time in purgatory; so, this one about coming back to power in 2019 does not show that they are sufficiently remorseful; they have to spend sufficient time in purgatory before Nigerians can consider whether to forgive them because they put us in the sorry state we are in today,” he said.

Reflecting on the purported divisions in the country since the assumption of office of President Buhari, Secondus said: “Not even during the fratricidal civil war has this country been so divided along ethnic and religious fault lines.

“When a country is in such precarious situation, nation building becomes absolutely inevitable.

“Three years down the line and about 12 months to the next general elections, what is the state of our country? All gains have been clearly eroded through an acute lack of understanding of the intricacies of governing a complex state as Nigeria.

“It has quickly become apparent that propaganda and unrealistic promises that helped the current ruling party to power could not and cannot deliver the much-needed dividends of democracy. You need competence and capability to do that!

“The three major planks that our opposition sold itself to Nigerians are combating corruption, tackling insecurity, especially the Boko Haram terrorist sect, and revamping of the nation’s economy. Today, the scorecard of the ruling party on all scores is embarrassingly abysmal.

On APC scorecard

“On corruption, I need not go into details except draw your attention to the latest Transparency International Report that shows that the corruption index under the watch of the so-called anti-corruption government has worsened.

“Only recently, the federal government tried to arm-twist state governors to take from the common purse, the sum of $1billion (N365bn) for the tackling of Boko Haram they claimed they defeated two years ago. The climax of the APC government politicking with security was the recent abduction of over 100 school girls from their college premises in Dapchi Girls Science and Technical College in Yobe State with government, military and police authorities contradicting one another as to who did and didn’t do what.

“President Buhari’s response to the distraught parents of the abducted girls and their colleagues when he ostensibly went on a very belated compassionate visit, was to claim that his government’s response was swifter than that of the previous one. How thoroughly embarrassing for this government?” he added.

The PDP boss also mocked President Buhari’ monetary policy saying, “our currency has been recklessly devalued from N199 in 2015 to nearly N500 a dollar before it came down to about N365 only due to an increase in oil prices and not any significant thing done by this government.

“Fuel prices rose from N97 to N145, yet the nation experiences unabated scarcity with its attendant long queues and suffering by Nigerian citizens.”

Bode George pledges loyalty to NWC

From left, Former Vice President, Alh Atiku Abubakar, Former Governor of Niger State, Babangida Aliyu and Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe, during the Peoples Democratic Party public discourse on contemporary and Governance in Nigeria in Abuja yesterday Photo by Gbemiga Olamikan.
Perhaps, the biggest takeaway for Secondus was the presence of Bode George at the Transcorp Hilton venue of the public discourse.

George, who angrily pulled out of the PDP chairmanship race 24 hours to the party’s convention in December 2017, had not openly identified with the new leadership of the party until yesterday.

However, he laid aside his grievances in the interest of the party and asked all those who left for one reason or the other to return to the PDP.

“What I heard totally rekindles my absolute loyalty. It was like we took an overdose of sleeping tablet. The world is watching us.

“You have talked the talk, let the people go and walk the talk. I pray God to give you the wisdom to lead the party because we don’t have a second chance,“ George stated.

Present at the well-attended event were two former Vice Presidents, Atiku Abubakar and Namadi Sambo, ex-Jigawa State governor and 2019 Presidential hopeful, Alhaji Sule Lamido, three former governors, Ibrahim Shema (Katsina) Peter Obi (Anambra) and Babangida Aliyu (Niger), amongst others.

There’s smear campaign against me — Jonathan

Meanwhile, former President Jonathan, who is in Sierra Leone to monitor the presidential election run-off, said he had been the object of unceasing reproach by Buhari administration’s officials, including the President and his deputy.

President Buhari had, following the negotiated release of the school girls captured from Dapchi, Yobe State, said his administration did better than Jonathan’s which he claimed dilly-dallied after the kidnap of more than 200 girls from a girl’s secondary school in Chibok, Borno State.

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo had on his part, accused Jonathan of sharing N150 billion in the two weeks preceding the 2015 general elections.

That allegation was denied by Jonathan’s former media aide, Reno Omokri.

However, alleging a plan to raise the tempo of allegations against him towards bringing him to disrepute, President Jonathan on Sunday night said he had been informed that some faceless persons had been recruited for the conspiracy.

“It has been brought to my attention that while I am away promoting democracy in Sierra Leone, a campaign will be unleashed against me to falsely impugn my name using both faceless and identified persons,” he wrote on his Facebook wall.

“When I was in power, I said my ambition is not worth the blood of any Nigerian. Even out of power, I continue to hold that belief.

“What I will say, however, is that no matter how far and fast falsehood has travelled, it must eventually be overtaken by the truth.”

Source: Vanguard

TY Danjuma, master of the gaffe

TY, master of the gaffe

By Mahmud Jega |
PDP’s grand conspiracy theory of last week alleging that the Buhari Administration orchestrated the abduction and rescue of Dapchi schoolgirls for diabolical 2019 reasons had not run its full course when another, even grander conspiracy theory exploded on the national scene on Saturday. It would not have gained much traction if not for the calibre of the conspiracy theoretician. Speaking at the maiden convocation ceremony of Taraba State University, Wukari, retired Lieutenant General Theophilus Yakubu [T.Y.] Danjuma asked Nigerians [read: Middle Belt citizens] to defend themselves against killers [read: cattle herdsmen] because the Nigerian Army colludes with killers to attack people of the “riverine states” [read: Taraba, Benue and Kogi states].
General Danjuma said the army is biased in inter-communal conflicts and that “it has failed in its responsibility of securing the country from attacks.” Failing to secure the country is different from colluding with the attackers, as we shall see. TY said, “The armed forces are not neutral. They collude with the armed bandits. They kill people, kill Nigerians. They facilitate their movements, they cover them. If you depend on the armed forces to stop the killings you will all die one by one. The ethnic cleansing must stop in Taraba State, must stop in all the states of Nigeria. I ask everyone one of you to be alert and defend your territory, your state. You have nowhere else to go.” He added that Somalia will be “child’s play” if killings continue in Nigeria. Some people alleged that he is aspiring to become our Mohammed Farah Aideed.

In Nigeria as in other places, a statement gains traction first because of the person who made it, secondly the context in which he made it, and thirdly the history of certain phrases that he used. In this case the person who made the allegation is, paradoxically, one of the country’s best known soldiers. He was a major actor in the July 1966 countercoup; a frontline commander in the Civil War; General Officer Commanding [GOC] the 3 Division in the Gowon era; very powerful Army Chief throughout the Murtala/Obasanjo regime and Defence Minister under President Obasanjo in 1999-2003. Let’s add that he was the man who got the contract from General Buhari to hire Israelis to grab Alhaji Umaru Dikko off London streets and bundle him into a crate in 1984. Since he left the Obasanjo government in a huff in 2003, TY returned to his role as a prominent businessman and philanthropist and an on-and-off statesman who does some good deeds but every now and then strays off the high road of statesmanship.
Ordinarily, there is nothing wrong in asking people to defend themselves against attack, except that the way it is said could sound like an incitement for people to take the law into their hands and proceed from defence to attack, which soldiers say is the best form of defence. The most controversial use of that phrase in recent times was by former Christian Association of Nigeria [CAN] President Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor. He said so in 2012 in response to the Boko Haram bombing of churches on Sundays. Many people saw his statement as inciting. When Boko Haram later changed tactics from bombing churches to bombing mosques, Oritsejafor did not balance matters by asking Muslims to defend themselves.
I am not happy that this is the third time in 7 years that I am disagreeing with Danjuma on a major statement. The first time was in 2011 when he described Borno as a failed state. I had to remind him that the concept of failed state refers to nation states, not their sub units that have no security forces of their own. The second occasion was August last year, when a group called Nigeria Christian Elders Forum charged that Muslim heads of security agencies were put in place to carry out a Jihadist agenda. Danjuma was one of the supposed signatories of the statement, though it turned out that he did not attend the NCEF meeting.
The charge that TY made on Saturday is similar to the one made in Washington, DC by then Adamawa State Governor Vice Admiral Murtala Nyako in March 2014. Curiously, Nyako’s military credentials mirror TY’s because he was a former Chief of Naval Staff and former Deputy Chief of Defence Staff. He sensationally told a foreign audience that the Jonathan Administration was sponsoring the Boko Haram insurgency in order to destroy the North. The way Nigeria works, many of the people who agreed with Nyako’s charge at the time [Northern Muslims, essentially] are also the ones who will vehemently disagree with Danjuma’s recent charge. Conversely, many of those who at the time accused Nyako of treasonable felony [Southerners and Christians, essentially] are the ones most likely to agree with Danjuma’s recent allegation.
As for me, I am an equal opportunity basher of conspiracy theories wherever I cannot see the evidence. In 2014 I wrote a column titled Enough Blames To Go Round and totally disagreed with Nyako. Last July I wrote another column titled Not Northern, Not Christian, Not Elders and disagreed with NCEF. Today I am disagreeing with Danjuma and I also promise any future conspiracy theoretician of any hue, provided I am still alive, that I will take him or her up unless he presents solid evidence to back up his allegation. Now, few Nigerians know the army as much as TY does. There is however a reason to believe that many people lose touch with the current reality of institutions that they once headed.
Even a cursory look reveals that all Nigerian Army Divisions, Brigades, Battalions, Companies, Platoons and Sentries are ethnically, regionally, religiously and temperamentally mixed up. There is no Army Battalion, not to mention Division that is so ethnically or religiously pure that it can conspire to take sides in an inter-communal conflict. In any case, military training first and foremost aims to demolish a soldier’s earlier socialisation, including ethnic parochialism. If this training didn’t succeed over the years, TY cannot escape blame. Sure there are rogue soldiers but I doubt if they are very many. If the Nigeria Army appeared unprepared to fight internal wars, its former commanders cannot escape blame either.
General Danjuma began from the premise that the army has been unable to stop killings in the Middle Belt. Insofar as the army has been unable to stop killings in the North East, in Zamfara State and in Birnin Gwari after many years, that fact alone cannot stand as evidence of complicity in the killings. On many occasions in the 1970s when TY was Army Chief, soldiers attacked and killed civilians but no one said Danjuma was complicit because he couldn’t stop them. The fact that Federal Commanders including TY failed to stop soldiers from carrying out atrocities against Biafran civilians during the civil war did not mean they abetted it. I make an exception of the 1977 attack on Fela’s Kalakuta Republic, which TY personally ordered, as well as Odi and Zaki Biam. The fact also that 130,000 NATO troops from 51 countries failed to protect Afghans from the Taliban did not mean they colluded with it.
How times change. At the height of the Tiv-Jukun conflict in 1990, Citizen magazine sent Tawey Zakka and I to go and do an extensive report. We spent one week in Wukari, visiting crisis spots and conducting interviews. Tiv spokesmen told us that TY procured an army battalion from Yola and used it to shoot Tivs. We refused to include that charge in our story because there was no proof. A year later when conflict erupted in Takum between Jukun and Kuteb, irate Kuteb youths attacked TY’s motorcade, saying he was arming the Jukun militia. Again the charge was unsubstantiated. See who is making unsubstantiated allegations now.
That General Danjuma has fallen out with the Buhari regime over some issues does not mean he should incite Nigerians against the army, without which there could be no Nigeria, even though he said in the same breath that we should all work to preserve our country.

Culled from Daily Trust