Retired Lieutenant General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma has urged Nigerians to defend themselves against killers across the country instead of depending on the armed forces.
Danjuma, a former Chief of Army Staff from 1976-1979, said this on Saturday in a live telecast programme of the 10th anniversary of the Taraba State University, Jalingo.
He also made a grave accusation against the armed forces, saying they were providing cover and defending the killers.
He said: “You must rise to protect yourselves from these people.
“If you depend on the armed forces for protection, you will all die one by one.
“The ethnic cleansing must stop now.
“Otherwise, Somalia will be a child’s play.
“I ask everyone of you to be on the alert and defend your country, defend your territory, defend your state because you have nowhere else to go.
“The armed forces are not neutral.
“They are conniving with the armed bandits that are killing people.”
Danjuma described Taraba State as a miniature Nigeria with beautiful cultures, which the bandits were doing everything to destroy.
Taraba, the home state of the retired general, had witnessed, like the Middle Belt states of Plateau, Benue, Kogi, Nasarawa, clashes between herdsmen and farmers, leading to many deaths.
Herdsmen alleged that about 800 of them were killed on the Mambilla Plateau, a charge the Taraba State Government has denied.
There have also been the problems of banditry and cattle rustling in some North Western states, especially Zamfara, which President Muhammadu Buhari visited on Thursday.
There, Buhari ordered the armed forces to stop the killings all over the country.
Across the country have been reports of banditry, herdsmen killing farmers or their hosts and kidnapping.
Danjuma’s advice was that all Nigerians should protect themselves, rather than waiting for the armed forces alone to protect them.
Governor Darius Ishaku expressed joy over the growth of the university within a short time, and commended its founding fathers for their foresight.
“The institution has made it possible for many Taraba residents to access tertiary education,” he said, and pledged government’s support toward making it a model.
Prof. Vincent Tenebe, the Vice Chancellor, commended the state government for its continued support, which had ensured the growth of the university.
Tenebe said 5,900 students from five sets were graduating, and urged them to be good ambassadors of the institution.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that honorary doctorate degrees were conferred on Danjuma, Senator Jeremiah Useni and Ishaku.
Also honoured with doctorate degrees were Dr. Tony Elumelu, Chairman, Tony Elumelu Foundation, and Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, former Executive Secretary, Tertiary Education Trust Fund.
Danjuma had earlier inaugurated the 6.75km Magami link road constructed by the Taraba State Government.