Nigeria’s Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Musa, has apologised to Nigerians on behalf of the military, denying claims of ethnic cleansing.
On Sunday night, December 3, the Nigerian Airforce used an army drone to accidentally bomb civilians in Tudun Biri, Kaduna State, which left at least 85 villagers dead and about 66 hospitalised.
Musa promised that an investigation would be carried out and amends made.
“We just want to convey to Nigerians that mistakes are human and it is highly regrettable and we will make amends, ensuring that we will look back and see where these mistakes came from to avoid them further. It is our duty to protect civilians, not to harm them, especially our own citizens.” He told Arise News.
Reacting to the allegations of the Arewa group who stated that the act was a deliberate attack due to ethnic differences, Musa denied the claims.
“Mistakes do happen. It has nothing to do with tribe, religion or ethnicity. Anybody with that kind of thought is not being truthful and sincere about it. he said
“Sometimes when people don’t have full information, they tend to react emotionally to it. This is a mistake that is relatable and we will take measures to ensure it is being addressed.”
“If you saw the footage, it was just the way the terrorists move and the way they congregate. That was why the pilot felt he had to engage. But then again, we are going to review it to ensure that we are more precise in future.”
Musa then called for an upgrade in the budget approved for the military.
“Frankly speaking, the regime of Tinubu has really shown us commitment. You can see the budget. In the past, you hear large sums of money are being approved for the military. The question is how much do we get? he added
“Also, we don’t manufacture any of these items we use. We buy them in dollars and so if you convert the amount that has been released in the past, the super tucanos that were bought was about six hundred million dollars, out of one billion. That’s almost gone.
“How much do you buy aircraft, how much do you buy tanks and ships? You find out that with the money given when you convert them to dollars, you are not getting much. The ammunitions that we buy, we buy them in foreign currencies.
“That is why we must produce what we need. As a country of over 200 million, we must develop our military constructions or else we will be held accountable.
“Now, even with your money you cannot go off the shelf to get the equipment that you need you have to order and wait to get them in.
“So, it is when this our industrial complex comes on stream and we start producing what we need then I think it will be a lot better.
“Because of the challenges of getting these equipment, we have developed our own mechanics. The mechanical department has developed capacities. But we still need more and we know we will get more.”
“No country should allow terrorism to start, if not it will be difficult to eradicate because the center of gravity of a terrorist is not the individual but the ideology in his mind. So, changing the mindset is what will be required and we will continue to push.
“We have Nigerians that are also doing so much to trade with them, give them fuel and food. If we all come together and stop this thing, they will not survive.
“It is a holistic thing and an all-government approach, not only for the armed forces.”