Senator Ali Ndume on Thursday described the recent attack on Taraba State by some Ambazonia forces as “more of communal or tribal conflict” and not an affront to Nigeria’s territorial integrity as feared in some quarters.
Suspected Ambazonian soldiers had stormed Manga village in Takum Local Government Area of Taraba State, killing 11 persons including a traditional ruler.
While the development had raised concerns over Nigeria’s territorial integrity, Ndume maintained that Wednesday’s incident is bound to happen along border communities across the country.
“I have listened to the governor and the actual situation is more of a communal or tribal conflict that affects communities along our borders,” the Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Army, said on Channels Television’s Politics Today.
“You know that the border of Nigeria and Cameroon stretches from Taraba and even down to Cross Rivers up to Borno. We have several villages and towns across the borders and they are mostly divided by rivers.”
The lawmaker, who wondered how “a stateless group” can attack the country, said such conflict happens due to several reasons.
“The details are not yet out but this kind of clash between tribes and communities happens, not frequently, but it can happen especially these days for basic economic and political reasons and in rare cases religious,” Ndume said.
According to him, the situation has been blown out of proportion as he assured that the Nigerian government and security agencies are capable of defending the nation’s territorial integrity.
“This incident is a serious one that needs to be looked into but that is not to say that Nigeria is in any way under threat from any of the neighbouring countries,” he added.
Ndume’s comment is coming hours after Senator Emmanuel Bwacha raised an alarm over the attack.
During the plenary session on Wednesday, Senator Bwacha said the community was invaded by separatists from the neighbouring country – an incident he said led to the killing of the village head of Manga and some residents.
Senator Bwacha, therefore, called on the military to immediately swing into action to prevent the eventual occupation of the Manga community by the separatists.