Group rejects Military ’s response over Kaduna bombing, demands redeployment of GOC
The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has rejected the response of the Defence Headquarters on the bombing of civilians.
It called for the redeployment of the General Officer Commanding, One Division of the Nigerian Army, Kaduna, “to allow for unfettered investigations”.
ACF, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Prof. T. A. Muhammad-Baba, said the N10 million donation announced by the Chief of Army Staff was “grossly inadequate”.
It said it was the Federal Government, not the Nigerian Army, which should take responsibility for full compensation for deaths and injuries to victims arising from the incident.
ACF urged the COAS, as a sign of good faith, to follow up with additional steps to ameliorate the pains and suffering of the community.
It faulted the statement issued by the Defence Headquarters, saying it left much to be desired in its choice of words and was even contemptuous.
“Indeed, ACF considers the Defence Headquarters’ response as prove positive that the disaster was a consequence of an inexcusable and incompetent failure of intelligence.
“ACF draws particular attention to four specific issues in the Defence Headquarters’ reaction, as follows: (i) that the military could deploy an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) without proper ground assessment was a strategic error because it resulted in deaths and injuries to mostly children who were not even as little as carrying sticks and stones;
“(ii) the Defence Headquarters claimed a ‘threat’ was ‘eliminated’ but such threat was tragically a gathering of mostly children as obvious from video clips and photographs now trending on social media, of the before-and-after the Tudun Biri Massacre;
“(iii) the Defence Headquarters asserted that the community ought to have informed the military about its activities, an assertion tantamount to a classic blame-the-victim strategy and typical gaslighting of the victims of the incident.
“On the contrary, the usual practice is for communities to be informed about impending military operations.; and (iv) while it is entirely plausible that terrorists often disguise as civilians and entrench themselves in the civilian population, the Tudun Biri gathering was clearly that of innocent civilian citizens, and as obvious from photos of the before-and-after the incident.”
Also yesterday, former Senate President Ahmad Lawan, who currently chairs the Senate Committee on Defence, said the committee will begin an investigation into the incident.
He mourned the loss of innocent lives and sent condolences to the Kaduna State Government and the victims of the bombing.
He urged the Federal Government, through the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), to provide succor to those injured and incapacitated by the tragic incident.