As more rural communities in Plateau state come under attacks by gunmen, political elders in the state have advised the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government not to take lightly the advice from retired Gen. T. Y. Danjuma to Nigerians to defend themselves against armed bandits.
They said the administration would be wrong to dismiss the warning by the elder statesman, stressing that killings of innocent Nigerians may lead to anarchy if those affected decide to retaliate.
The elders, in a statement issued on Friday in Jos, also cautioned security agencies and stakeholders against dismissing the former defence minister’s advice.
“Security issues are sensitive. Danjuma is a first class security man and knows when soldiers are ready to discharge their role.
“It is risky to dismiss his suggestion,” the statement, signed by Chief John Mankilik, Chairman of the elders’ forum in Plateau Central Zone read.
The elders decried the incessant killings, especially in Plateau, Benue, Kogi, Nasarawa, Taraba and Kaduna States, and urged the armed forces to “do more” to protect the people.
“We believe that Danjuma spoke the minds of the helpless victims of the violence. Many people are being pushed to the wall and may heed such call if nothing is done to change the tide,” they said.
The elders decried the recent killings at Daffo District in Bokkos Local Government, where 30 lives were reportedly lost with many still missing.
They also decried the killings of several traditional rulers, especially the first class ruler of Ron-Kulere, Dr. Lazaru Agai, and urged government to step up efforts to apprehend the killers.
The Plateau elders emphasised the need to focus on fashioning out strategies to protect the interest of the people, and called for unity towards forming a cohesive force.
They urged the security forces to fish out and disarm those masterminding the killings so as to restore peace to trouble rural areas.