In a statement released on Tuesday, the Taraba state government condemned the Nigerian Army, accusing it of not only failing to stop killings in the North Central, but deliberately promoting it “by looking the other way so that killers could have unhindered access to their unarmed and helpless victims.”
The government was reacting to the report submitted by a military panel set up to investigate allegations made by General T. Y Danjuma (Rtd.), accusing soldiers of colluding with herdsmen to kill locals. The General John Nimyel led panel concluded that the army is not guilty of the allegations.
The Taraba government however dismissed the verdict in a statement signed by Bala Dan Abu, the Senior Special Assistant to Gov. Darius Ishaku on Media and Publicity.
According to the Taraba government:
- It is not surprised by the verdict.
- “The case of the Army’s culpability in the killings is very widely known and acknowledged within and outside the shores of this country. It is on record that even Amnesty International had reason to condemn the Army’s lukewarm attitude to the killings in the past,” the statement said.
- It rejected the verdict of the military panel, describing it as an extension of the Army’s bias which it exhibited and has continued to exhibit over the crises. “With the verdict, the Army has proved once again the appropriateness of the popular axiom that one cannot and should not sit in judgement in a case in which it is also the accused.”
- The government accused the Army under General Tukur Buratai as lacking the “courage, capacity and fair-mindedness to do what is right to protect victims of the herdsmen massacres committed not only in Taraba state but also in Benue, Adamawa, Kaduna, Plateau, Zamfara and Kogi.”
- It demanded that an independent judicial panel be set up to conduct a “thorough and unbiased investigation” into the allegations of military complicity in the killings.