Your Self-Defence Call Shocking, Scary Presidency Tells Danjuma
In furtherance to the comment made by the former Minister of Defence, Lt.-Gen. Theophilus Danjuma (retd.), the Presidency on Saturday said the recent call is shocking and scary.
It should be noted that the retired Lt.-Gen. T. Y. Danjuma had earlier told Nigerians that they should not rely on security agencies but defend themselves.
It said unrestrained pronouncements were capable of encouraging criminal gangs to defy legal governing and democratic institutions.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba, Shehu, said these in a statement made available to journalists.
Shehu urged prominent Nigerians to use their national influence wisely and shun public declarations that are capable of threatening national security.
He also advised former leaders to take advantage of the various fora where they can advise the government on security matters without resorting to the exploitation of emotional sentiments.
Shehu wondered if any country can survive if its citizens rise against its military.
He said Nigerians must be careful to avoid the mess that destroyed other African countries like Somalia.
Despite Danjuma’s verdict on the armed forces however, the presidential aide commended the Nigerian military’s efforts to maintain peace and stability, “despite being pulled in various directions by elements determined to destabilise the country and government for their selfish reasons.”
The statement read, “The Presidency wishes to appeal 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.
“The Presidency 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.
“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.
“The Presidency commends the Nigerian military’s efforts to maintain peace and stability, despite being pulled in various directions by elements determined to destabilise the country and government for their selfish reasons.
“What country would survive if its citizens rise against the country’s organised, trained and equipped military?
“We advise 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 reaction came exactly one week after Danjuma last Saturday while speaking at the maiden convocation of the Taraba State University, Jalingo, and the 10th anniversary of the institution told Nigerians to defend themselves against killers in the country, saying the armed forces were not ready to defend them.