The Federal government has clarified that the statement where it was quoted to have indicted some traditional leaders and foreign miners for aiding the ongoing killings by bandits in parts of North West and North Central Nigeria, was misconstrued.
Nigeria’s Minister of Defence, Brig-Gen. Mansur Dan-Ali (rtd) was widely reported last week to have accused the traditional leaders especially in Zamfara State of collaborating with the murderous bandits and kidnappers.
But this has been debunked by Dan-Ali in a statement on Sunday by his Public Relations Officer, Col. Tukur Gusau, entitled: “Clarification on Honourable Minister’s Comment on Banditry in the North West”.
He said the statement was not meant to discredit the “highly revered traditional rulers” but to “serve as a warning to some community leaders and their surrogates”.
Part of the statement read: “The attention of the Honourable Minister of Defence was drawn to publications in some media organisations alleging that he accused some traditional rulers in the states affected by banditry of conniving with bandits. For the avoidance of doubt the statement was not meant to discredit our highly revered traditional rulers in the states affected.
“However the statement was meant to serve as a warning to some community leaders and their surrogates. This is based on security reports available to the Ministry of Defence and cannot be divulged to the general public.”
“The Ministry of Defence wants to once again assure all law abiding citizens of the commitment of the Armed forces of Nigeria towards protecting lives and properties of Nigerians.”
In the past, Nigerian military has backtracked from similar allegations against some leaders in the Northeast especially Borno State for aiding and abetting Boko Haram terrorists in the region.