Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Garba Shehu, says that there was nothing wrong in innocent citizens defending themselves when attacked but that it has to be done within the ambit of the law.
This was in reaction to a statement credited to a former Minister of Defence, Gen. Theophilus Danjuma (rtd), that Nigerians should defend themselves against the unending violence in some parts of the country.
Shehu, who appeared as a guest on Channels Television’s political programme, Sunday Politics, however, warned that it must be within the ambit of the law.
“There is absolutely nothing wrong with you defending yourself in line with the law,” he said.
“The security services in the country will probably not be telling Nigerians to do nothing when they come and attack”.
Gen. Danjuma had on March 24 accused the military of complicity in the killings within Taraba, Benue and other “riverine states” in the country.
According to the former defence minister, during a convocation ceremony of Taraba State University, “The peace in this state is under assault. There is an attempt at ethnic cleansing in this state and, of course, in all the riverine state of Nigeria. We must resist it. We must stop it. Every one of us must rise up,”
Following his media outburst, many Nigerians have taken to the social media to express their views on the statement made by the elder statesman, with many criticizing the President Muhammadu Buhari administration for failing to address the security challenges in parts of the country, Shehu is not one of the government’s critics.
On the reaction of the President to the Former Defence Minister’s outburst, the Shehu says he believes that President Buhari is taking the pleas made by Nigerians seriously in dealing with the issues raised.
“This is a listening government and the reaction then was of silence to say to them that we have heard you.
“We will listen to the useful advice you have given us. We will take what we can use from what you have said.”
The Presidential aide, however, exonerated the military of condoning attacks that have led to bloodshed in the land.
He is of the view that members of the Armed forces were there to defend citizens of the country even to their own detriment.