In the aftermath of the accidental bombing of Tudun Biri in Kaduna State, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has demanded the removal of Major-General V.U. Okoro, the General Officer Commanding One Division of the Nigerian Army. The ACF’s call comes as the Federal Government pledges to investigate and hold accountable those responsible for the tragic incident.
The accidental bombing occurred during an air strike intended to target terrorists but hit civilians during a religious celebration in Tudun Biri. The ACF insists on the removal of army officers in Kaduna for a thorough investigation, emphasizing the need for an independent panel to ensure unbiased findings.
Vice President Kashim Shettima, representing President Bola Tinubu, visited the victims of the bombing at Barau Dikko Teaching Hospital and assured that measures would be taken to prevent future occurrences. Shettima disclosed that victims would be covered under the Fulako Initiative, focusing on non-kinetic solutions for challenges in the North-West.
As part of the Fulako Initiative, Tudun Biri will be the first community to be rebuilt, with plans for houses, clinics, schools, veterinary clinics, empowerment initiatives, and solar energy. The project, set to begin in January 2024, aims to address the aftermath of the tragic incident.
The ACF acknowledged the visit by the Minister of State (Defence) and the Chief of Army Staff to Tudun Biri and welcomed the Fulako Initiative, but deemed the N10 million donation to the community as insufficient. The forum called for the federal government to take responsibility for providing full compensation to victims.
While the Defense Headquarters emphasized that the accidental bombing should not be given ethnic or religious coloration, the ACF criticized the military’s response, describing it as a consequence of an “inexcusable and incompetent failure of intelligence.” The forum called for a proper audit of the incident, stating that the results should be made public.
The Defense Headquarters, addressing journalists, denied claims of a lack of synergy within the military and urged against giving the incident ethnic or religious undertones. Major General Edward Buba stressed that the Armed Forces of Nigeria operate jointly and have members from all parts of the country.
In a separate development, the United States Bureau of Arms Control, Deterrence, and Stability proposed that the Nigerian military deploy artificial intelligence (AI) to reduce accidental bombings. The centre emphasized that AI adoption would enhance military capabilities and ensure compliance with international humanitarian law, preventing inadvertent civilian casualties.
As the government pledges to investigate and the ACF calls for accountability, the Tudun Biri incident underscores the need for comprehensive measures to avoid such tragedies and rebuild affected communities.