December 10, (THEWILL) – Last Sunday’s bombing of innocent civilians participating in an Islamic rite in Tundi Buri community in the Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State really leaves a sour taste in the mouth. The description of the drone attack by the Defence Headquarters as ”error bombing” is like adding salt to injury as there could have been no justification for that costly and fatal blunder.
More infuriating are the contradictory statements from those responsible for the tactical mistake that has since sent the entire state into a mourning mood. While the Chief of Army Staff, Lt-General Taoreed Lagbaja, had taken responsibility for the incident, promising a full investigation, the Director of Defence Media Operations, Maj-Gen. Edward Buba, was trying to justify the condemnable action.
THEWILL recalls that Buba, on Tuesday, three days after the bombing, said the army had suspected the presence of terrorists in the area after an aerial surveillance captured movement of persons synonymous with terrorist tactics and mode of operation.
“It should be noted that terrorists often deliberately embed themselves within civilian population centres for the civilian population to bear the consequences of their atrocities. Nevertheless, the Nigerian military does its best at all times to distinguish between civilians and terrorists,” Buba had maintained.
While we condemn this ”doublespeak” in the strongest term as it is not only insensitive but also amounts to countering what a superior officer had earlier said, we are not surprised that the Governor of Kaduna State, Uba Sani, has described Buba’s statement as “very careless”, calling for its retraction.
We, however, commend the governor for his maturity and magnanimity, even in the face of anger. The governor, who has been trying to “calm the people and make them understand that the government will fight for justice,” has also commended President Bola Tinubu, Vice President Kashim Shettima and the Chief of Army Staff, Lagbaja, for what he described as their consoling words and quick intervention which, according to him, have helped diffuse the tension in the state.
“These are the statements that are responsible and show a lot of empathy. It’s a time to show empathy and not a time to make excuses, because for the families – we are trying to calm them down and make them understand that the government will fight for justice. But making excuses before the investigation is concluded, I think it’s unnecessary,” the governor was quoted as saying.
As efforts continue to provide succour to the surviving victims who are still taking treatment at the hospital, we join well-meaning Nigerians to interrogate what the military claims to be intelligence as the so-called error bombing is becoming a yearly occurrence.
Only a few years ago, there was a mistake bombing that destroyed a church in Kaduna, even as investigation shows that “error bombing ” has gone on for too long to warrant urgent attention and concern for the root causes of what appears to be a deadly pattern.
While investigation into the deadly drone attack gets underway as promised by the Federal Government, we salute the courage of Governor Sani, who said the state government would take care of the wounded and also provide proper medical care and support to the victims.
“We will also take care of the orphans by giving them support and ensuring that they are properly taken care of,” the governor said.