Presidency Replies Danjuma, Wants Elders To Use Influence Wisely

IN a delayed response to the claim by former Minister of Defense, Gen. Theophilus Danjuma that the military is biased and cannot be relied on to defend people against Fulani herdsmen, the Presidency on Saturday has expressed shock that a senior citizen can ask people to defend themselves.
The former Chief of Army Staff had voiced his frustration last weekend over the continuous killings in Taraba State and other parts of the country, alleging that ethnic cleansing is going on.
He had said while speaking at the maiden convocation ceremony of Taraba State University, Jalingo “You must rise to protect yourselves from these people, if you depend on the Arm Forces to protect you, you will all die.”
“This ethnic creasing must stop in Taraba, and it must stop in Nigeria. These killers have been protected by the military, they cover them and you must be watchful to guide and protect yourselves because you have no any other place to go.”
“The ethnic cleansing must stop now otherwise Somalia will be a child play.”
“I ask all of you to be on your alert and defend your country, defend your state.”

But in its response coming exactly a week after, the presidency on Saturday expressed reservation about the pronouncement and urged elder statesmen to use their influence wisely.
“Silence can be dignified, but sometimes it can be misinterpreted and exploited. It is both shocking and scary to hear the recent comments by a senior citizen calling for Nigerians to defend themselves,” a statement issued by Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media & Publicity), in Abuja said.

The Presidency appealed to prominent Nigerians, “who have national influence, to use their influence wisely and not continue to engage in public declarations that are likely to inflame emotional passions and threaten National Security.”
It said it is very worried that criminal gangs will feel justified in defying legal governing and democratic institutions, and authority of legitimately elected democratic government if unrestrained pronouncements are made.

The Presidency commended the Nigerian military’s efforts to maintain peace and stability, despite being pulled in various directions by elements determined to destabilize the country and government for their selfish reasons.
“What country would survive if its citizens rise against the country’s organized, trained and equipped military?” It queried.

The Presidency advised former leaders to take advantage of the various fora where people with a history of national security can offer advice to the government without resorting to the exploitation of emotional sentiments.
“The civil war motto: “To keep Nigeria one is a task that must be done” rings very timely at this time in our nation’s history. We must be careful to avoid the mess that destroyed other African countries like Somalia,” the statement declared.

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