Public Affairs Analyst and Northern Elders Forum (NEF) member, Usman Yusuf, has called for the resignation of military top officials following an accidental bombing in Tudun Biri village, Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
Speaking on Channels Television’s Politics Today programme, he expressed his dismay, stating, “This is irresponsible,” highlighting the paradox of the military, meant to safeguard citizens against external threats, causing harm to them.
Yusuf said that in other nations, the entire chain of command, including the military chiefs, would have offered their resignations over such an incident, which plunged the nation into mourning.
He insisted, “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.”
President Bola Tinubu had appointed a new set of service chiefs in June, barely three weeks into his tenure as the Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces.
Reiterating his stance, Yusuf affirmed, “All of them should go – the CDS, the Chief of Army Staff, the GOC, the operatives, heads must roll.”
On Tuesday, General Christopher Musa, the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), and Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), visited families of the deceased victims and those injured in Kaduna hospitals.
“Army Incapable of Conducting Internal Investigation”
The two service chiefs expressed remorse for the accident and issued apologies to the affected populace, assuring them that such an accidental airstrike would not happen again.
Concurrently, the President extended condolences to the affected state and called for an inquiry into the incident.
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”.
Initially, confusion surrounded the Sunday airstrike, with conflicting statements from the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) and the Kaduna State Government. Subsequently, the Army acknowledged responsibility, citing the challenge of terrorists blending in among civilians.
Is this a pattern of emerging errors?
Nigeria’s military frequently employs airstrikes against groups identified as bandits and terrorists.
However, these airstrikes have been marked by controversies, accidental bombings, and alleged miscalculations, resulting in civilian and soldier casualties.
For instance, in early 2023, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) took responsibility for a fatal airstrike in Kwatiri, Nasarawa village, causing the death of at least 39 individuals and injuring six others.
Similarly, in 2021, about 20 soldiers were reportedly killed in Mainok, Borno State, when a NAF fighter jet, responding to attacks by Boko Haram insurgents on a military camp, mistakenly bombed the camp based on incorrect coordinates.