Governor Darius Ishaku of Taraba State on Thursday threw his weight behind the recent statement by a former Chief of Army Staff, Mr Theophilus Danjuma, which accused the army of colluding with armed bandits and called for self- defence by citizens.
Mr Ishaku disclosed this when he hosted the probe panel set up by Chief of Army Staff, Mr Tukur Buratai, a lieutenant general, to investigate recent allegation made against the armed forces by the elder statesman.
“We in Taraba are fully behind what Danjuma said on self defence.
“As an ex-army general with a high reputation, I think that call deserves to be looked into and not to be criticised because he spoke the minds of everyone in Taraba and indeed all Nigerians,” he said.
He described the coming of the committee as timely, assuring them of a conducive working environment to succeed in their assignment.
Ishaku explained that frequent attacks by herdsmen led to the promulgation of the open grazing prohibition and ranches establishment law after consultations with stakeholders.
The governor decried activities of soldiers in Taraba State who, he noted, were going about mistreating citizens and disarming them of petty arms while ignoring those with lethal weapons.
He debunked the claim by the military that his government did not complain about all that was happening in the state.
According to him, he had visited the president, the vice president, as well as written several letters on the alarming situation and therefore the claim couldn’t have been true.
Earlier, Chairman of the Army Probe Panel, Mr John Nimyel, a retired major general, sympathised with the governor and people of Taraba over the loss of lives and property in the state.
He told the governor that they were in the state to ascertain facts on the comments made by Danjuma, a retired lieutenant general, so as to enable them come up with ways the army could serve the country better.
According to him, members of the committee were selected based on their past track records of excellence and pledged the determination of the panel to be unbiased, free and transparent in their assignment.
“The statements by Danjuma has indeed cut short the reputation of the Armed Forces of Nigeria which cannot be ignored.
“If the Nigerian Army will continue to earn the trust and respect of the people of the state and indeed Nigerians it must investigate such a statement.
“We will do our best and visit all the three senatorial districts and interface with traditional rulers, stakeholders and government representatives so as to come out with a decision as regards the allegations raised by the General,” he said.