Chris Steven, Abuja
The Middle Belt Conscience Guard, has commended the Chief Of Army Staff (COAS), Lt Gen TY Buratai over the composition of a panel of inquiry to investigate allegations made by a former defence minister Lt. General T.Y. Danjuma on the farmers, herders clashes in some parts of the country.
Addressing journalists in Abuja, the group’s National Convener, Prince Raymond Enero expressed satisfaction that the panel is chaired by retired Major General John Nimyel, and other eminently qualified persons who have no individual attachment or hold any sentiments prior to its constitution.
The group said the setting up of the panel and the COAS’ avowal not to spare any personnel found to have compromised in their services to the country is not just reassuring but also
a confirmation of the professionalism and discipline the current leadership of the army has displayed over time.
Enero however, warned that all precautions necessary must be taken to insulate the panel from undue interference and influence that could jeopardize its objectivity and ability to uncover the truth as intended.
According to him, this is because the group has noted that certain individuals have initiated moves to hamstring the panel or corral it into returning a damning verdict against troops.
He alleged that these contractors are already floating opinion articles and sponsoring news stories to question the objectivity of the panel and the exercise it is meant to conduct.
Enero therefore urged CSOs and all other interested parties to give the panel the necessary cooperation it needs to do its work.
He said as a responsible organization that has the best interest of the Middle Belt at heart, the the Middle Belt Conscience Guard shall monitor all proceedings of the panel as an impartial observer.
He said, “Without prejudice to the outcome of the panel, we will make our own observations and recommendations known to Nigerians.
“Given the track record of the Army under the present leadership of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. General Tukur Buratai and its strict adherence to rules of engagement that conform to international standards, it is inconceivable that troops deployed to safeguard life would be involved in wanton destruction of same.
“Conversely, it is equally inconceivable that an elder would brazenly lie in the twilight of his life irrespective of what is at stake. It was therefore pertinent that the truth is established so that Nigerians can decide what is to follow.”
He explained that the COAS has in the past inaugurated a Human Rights Desk in the Nigerian Army and later set up the department for civil/military relations which are pointers to how the interest of citizens have been treated as paramount
He urged Nigerians, particularly opinion leaders, not to inflame the polity by unduly politicizing sensitive security issues, stressing that politics should be played in the arena of politicking while the safety of citizens must not be pawned to gain political mileage.