Heads must roll – Northern elder demands resignation of military chiefs over Kaduna bombing

Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Prof Usman Yusuf,
Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Prof Usman Yusuf,

 

A public affairs analyst and member of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Prof Usman Yusuf, has called for the resignation of military top brass over an accidental bombing that killed 85 villagers and injured several others at Tudun Biri village in the Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State on Sunday.

 

“This is irresponsible,” he said on Channels Television’s Politics Today programme on Tuesday, lamenting that the military which ought to protect Nigerians against external threats was killing the people.

Yusuf said in other climes, all military chiefs would have tendered their resignation letters over the accident which has thrown the country into mourning.

“They will all resign; everybody in the chain of command will be fired. The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), everybody will go and the President will cut his trip and return home,” he said.

President Bola Tinubu had appointed new set of service chiefs in June, about three weeks after being in the saddle as the Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces.

Stressing his earlier point, the analyst asserted that “All of them should go – the CDS, the Chief of Army Staff, the GOC, the operatives, heads must roll.”

 

Both the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Christopher Musa and the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja visited deceased victims’ families and injured ones in hospitals in Kaduna on Tuesday.

‘Army Can’t Probe Self’
The two service chiefs described the accident as regrettable and apologised to the people of the state, promising them that such accident airstrike won’t recur.

The President also commiserated with people of the state while demanding an investigation into the accident.

However, Yusuf said, “The Army cannot investigate itself; there should be a high-powered, independent committee headed by a retired CJN (Chief Justice of Nigeria) and in there, there should be a service chief.”

He said foreign countries would be hesitant about selling arms to the Nigerian military “when they are dropping it on our people”.

Confusion had trailed Sunday’s accidental air strike with the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) saying it was not responsible for the bombing.

The Kaduna State Government thereafter said the Army had taken responsibility for the accidental mistake. The Army on Tuesday took responsibility over the accident, saying terrorists sometime embed themselves amongst civilians.

A Trend Of Miscalculations?
Nigeria’s armed forces often rely on airstrikes in their battle against so-called bandits and terrorists. However, such air strikes have not been without controversies, accidental bombings and alleged miscalculations, with innocent Nigerians, including soldiers as casualties.

Earlier in 2023, NAF took responsibility over a fatal airstrike on Kwatiri, a Nasarawa village. At least 39 persons were killed and six others injured in the airstrike that occurred on 24 January.

In 2021, about 20 soldiers on ground were allegedly slain in Mainok, Borno State, when a NAF fighter jet responding to attacks on a military camp by Boko Haram insurgents bombed the military camp based on a wrong coordinate.

 

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