By Dipo Olowookere
Come January 2019, former Minister of Defence, General Theophilus Danjuma (rtd), will be in the United Kingdom to honour an invitation to speak at the country’s parliament.
Mr Danjuma will address the UK parliament on the incessant killings in north-central part of Nigeria, especially between herdsmen and farmers.
Reports say the retired army general earlier scheduled to speak to select leaders of the British House of Lords on September 5, 2018 at the instance of two high ranking members of the parliament; David Alton and Caroline Cox, both life peers from Liverpool and Queensbury.
However, ThisDay said this was scuttled by foreign lobbyist allegedly hired by the Nigerian government, who felt rattled by the obvious stance of Mr Danjuma on the herdsmen/farmer clashes in the country.
But that Danjuma, with the help of some international organisations and former President Olusegun Obasanjo reignited their lobby, and would now be speaking to the entire members of the House of Lords next January.
It was revealed that the scope of Mr Danjuma’s address will no longer be limited to the herdsmen and farmers clashes, but expanded to include issues of gross human rights violations and targeted attacks of Christian minorities in the Northern region of the country.
Killings along communal and religious fault lines have become recurring decimal in Plateau and Benue states.
In March 24, 2018, Mr Danjuma said during the maiden convocation of the Taraba State University in Jalingo, that the Nigerian Army and the police are complicit in the deadly violence.
“The armed forces are not neutral. They collude with the armed bandits to kill people, kill Nigerians,” the retired General said. The military, however, denied the allegations but set up an investigative panel to look into the claims.
After nearly a month of investigations, the military said there was no truth in the allegations.
Some Nigerians had criticized the retired general for making such weighty allegations against the military without providing any shred of evidence.
According to reports, the Danjuma group, the Westminster Institute, Open Doors USA and other prominent leaders from North-central Nigeria have increased their lobby for action on the situation in the country.
Also billed to speak alongside the former Nigerian army chief was the Anglican Archbishop of Jos, Ben Kwashi.
The pressure on the House of Lords may have finally led to the rescheduling of the hearing on the insecurity in Africa’s largest democracy.
A spokesperson for Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), which coordinated the event and circulated invitations for the postponed event had told a newspaper that the “event was postponed, which is why there have been no reports about it and no record of the event appears on the UK Parliament website.”
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