Fear grips Taraba residents over withdrawal of troops
Monarchs back Danjuma, task probe panel on fairness
Palpable fear has gripped residents of Donga, Takum and Wukari council areas of Taraba following the recent withdrawal of military personnel from the state.A tour by The Guardian revealed that the once visible army checkpoints in the affected areas were non-existent.
It was gathered that the troops that once provided security to the flashpoints had relocated to the 93 Battalion in Takum on the strength of a directive from the force headquarters in Abuja.
Disturbed by the new development, some of the residents told newsmen that they were no longer sleeping with two eyes closed for fear of being attacked by the mobile herdsmen, who in the first place, necessitated the deployment of the troops.
The chairman of Donga local council, Nashuka Ipeyen, faulted the decision of the military hierarchy, noting that the exit of the troops was already impacting negatively on the people.
Citing the killing of four persons few hours after the withdrawal, he, however, pledged that his leadership was leaving no stone unturned in giving the needed assistance to the mobile policemen deployed in the area.He said: “ The presence of the mobile policemen drafted to the area has helped a lot to stop the attackers from burning down villages.”
Ipeyen pleaded with the people to desist from going to the “ hinterland “ pending when the security situation improves. His Takum counterpart, Shiban Tikari, said: “As we speak, the Commanding Officer of the 93 Battalion here in Takum has withdrawn troops from all the checkpoints in this area.”
The affected council chairmen have, however, resolved to table the issue before the panel raised by the military high command to investigate the remarks by former Minister of Defence, Lt.-Gen. Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma accusing the army of collusion with the marauding herdsmen.
However, the state council of chiefs has thrown its weight behind the elder statesman, saying: “ Nigerians have lost confidence in the military.”The chairman and the traditional head of Jukun race, Dr. Shekarau Angyu Masa Ibi (Kuvyo II), who spoke yesterday while playing host to the probe panel, submitted that the situation had compelled Nigerians to “ lose absolute confidence in the army.”
Applauding the decision to probe the allegation by the ex-military chief, the monarch noted that it was a “known fact that the citizens of this country have lost confidence in the army despite their track records of successful peace-keeping missions in other countries.”
The monarch, who hosted the panel in his palace in Wukari council area, told the delegation that “ Nigerians, who are crying for justice, are expecting much from you,” adding that the armed force was equally “looking up to your report to help restore the confidence of Nigerian citizens in our military.”
The media and legal aide to the traditional ruler, monarch on Media and Legal Affair, Danjuma Adamu, who made his principal’s position known to newsmen, regretted that the people’s high expectations of the operation Ayem Akpatuma had not been met in the wake of continued attacks and invasions.The council chairman, Daniel Adi, tasked the panel on collaboration with the police for detailed account of attacks and killings in the area.The head of inquiring body, Maj.-Gen. Joseph Nimyel (rtd), promised thoroughness and justice.