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General News of Sunday, 10 December 2023


Kaduna Bombing Mistake: Defence chief begs Nigerians

General Christopher Musa General Christopher Musa

The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Christopher Musa, yesterday pleaded with Nigerians to shun the temptation of judging the military by last Sunday’s accidental drone attack in Tudun Biri community in Kaduna State.

He said nothing should be done to demoralise the troops who are saddled with the responsibility of tackling insecurity in the country.

Musa spoke at the graduation of the Senior Executive Course (SEC) 45 of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, near Jos.

But a group of lawyers from the North said it would be taking legal action against the federal government over the bombing, while the House of Representatives promised to monitor the probe of the incident.

”The incident wasn’t on purpose. We are meant to protect Nigerians and cannot be seen killing them,” Musa said.

“And so, I want to appeal to Nigerians not to use this incident to demoralise our troops because we are determined to end all forms of insecurity currently confronting our nation.

"The incident in Kaduna is, indeed, unfortunate and regrettable. It was a mistake and not a deliberate act.”

The defence chief expressed the military’s commitment to protecting the sanctity of human lives, adding that troops would never attack law-abiding citizens.

He further appealed to Nigerians to pray and support the military and other security agencies in their bid to rid the nation of all forms of security challenges.

In an interview with newsmen at the 4th Edition of the Chief of Defence Staff Armed Forces and Security Agencies Half Marathon Championship 2023 in Abuja, also yesterday, Musa said the military would take every measure to ensure that the mistake never occurs again.

“We pray for the repose of those that have died and those that are injured. We will make sure that they are provided for,” he said.

“The Federal Government and everyone are putting hands on the deck to ensure that we take care of the community, take care of those that have been injured and to also ensure that this doesn’t happen again.

“I want to thank all Nigerians for understanding with members of the armed forces and other security agencies.

“It was not deliberate; it was something that should not have been.

“We are going to move forward and we are using this competition to appreciate Nigerians for all their support and love for members of the armed forces and to assure them that we will continue to work very hard.

“We want to restore peace and tranquility in Nigeria and God willing, all of us together will achieve that.”

Northern lawyers threaten court action against FG

The Concerned Northern Lawyers Forum yesterday expressed its decision to go to court over the bombing to obtain justice for the victims.

Its spokesman, Mr. Nafi’iu Abubakar, said it found the Nigeria Army’s claim that the incident was accidental ‘deeply troubling’.

“We firmly believe that such occurrences should have never happened in the first place, especially, during a time of joyful celebration and unity,” Abubakar said.

He added: “It is unacceptable and goes against the principles of justice and respect for human rights.

“As representatives of the legal fraternity in northern Nigeria, we stand firmly in support of the affected victims and their families.

“It is our duty to ensure that justice is served and the rights of these innocent victims are protected.”

He said the forum would be instituting a legal action against the Federal Government to demand the payment of adequate compensation for the victims and their families who had suffered irreparable loss as a result of the unfortunate incident.

Abubakar therefore asked the Federal Government to take immediate and decisive action to ensure a thorough and independent investigation into the incident.

“It is imperative that those responsible are held accountable for their actions, and measures are put in place to prevent any recurrence of such incident in the future.

“We also urge the Nigerian Army to re-evaluate its rules of engagement and training procedures to prevent the loss of innocent lives during military operations,” he said.

According to him, it is vital that the Nigerian Army, as a defender of the nation, exercises utmost caution to avoid any further instance of collateral damage and civilian casualties.

Reps to monitor probe of military drone attack

The House of Representatives in its reaction to the drone attack said the incident “has cast a sombre mood over the hearts of all Nigerians.”

Chairman of the House Committee on Defence, Babajimi Benson, said in a statement in Abuja yesterday that while members had taken note of the “prompt admission of responsibility by the Nigerian Army” for the air strike, it was imperative for the military to henceforth exercise caution and precision in their operations, particularly in areas with civilian populations.

“The House Committee on Defence takes this opportunity to appeal to the Nigerian Army and other security agencies to prioritise the safety of civilians during operations, exercise utmost caution, and implement measures to prevent similar occurrences in the future,” Benson said.

“In our thorough examination of this incident, the Committee acknowledges the complexities encountered by the Armed Forces of Nigeria in upholding security and addressing diverse threats across the country.”

It hailed “the dedication and sacrifice exhibited by the Armed Forces and other security agencies in the service of our nation” and stressed the need for the public to “steadfastly support our troops, acknowledging the intricate nature of the security environment in which they operate.”

He added: “The House Committee on Defence will closely monitor the investigations and work collaboratively with the military authorities to ensure that corrective measures are implemented to prevent the recurrence of such unfortunate incidents.

Yari, Ningi lead Northern Senators to visit Kaduna airstrike victims

A delegation of the Northern Senators Forum yesterday visited the injured victims and bereaved families.

The delegation, led by the Chairman of Forum, Senator Abdul Ningi and Senator Abdul’aziz Yari Abubakar expressed their deepest condolences to the affected families and offered their support during this difficult time.

The Chairman of the Forum, Senator Ningi, announced a donation of N58 million to the victims from the 58 Northern Senators as an expression of their commitment of to supporting their constituents in times of need.

Speaking on the tragedy, Senator Yari, representing Zamfara West, expressed profound grief and condemned the incident.

He said: "Our hearts go out to all the families affected by this senseless tragedy. We witnessed firsthand the immense pain and suffering caused by this event.

“We pray for the deceased, their families, and a speedy recovery for the injured.”

Senator Yari also called for stronger measures to ensure that such accidental deaths do not reoccur, while also welcoming the investigation by the authorities into the cause of the accident.