ABUJA – The Nigerian Army has described as “sad and unfortunate”, the comments made by an Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, that security personnel are colluding with bandits.
Gumi, when he appeared on a television programme on Wednesday, accused some security personnel of giving armed gangs wreaking havoc across the country a soft landing.
He said gunmen would not have had access to weapons without the support of some security personnel.
But reacting to the allegation, Army spokesman, Brig.-Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, described it as a calculated attempt to denigrate the Nigerian military and undermine the sacrifices of the troops.
Nwachukwu called on the opinion leaders to demonstrate patriotism and build peace across the country, “rather than being agents of destabilization, thereby aggravating the current security challenges facing the nation.”
He said ”The Nigerian Army has just been alerted to a submission by Sheikh Ahmad Abubakar Gumi when he featured on ARISE TV Morning Show on Wednesday, 23 June 2021 alleging that the Nigerian Military is colluding with marauding bandits who have been responsible for various crimes and atrocities against Nigerians and the Nigerian state.
”The Nigerian Army (NA) wishes to state that contrary to Sheik Gumi’s claims, the NA remains a bonafide symbol of national unity that has conducted its constitutional responsibilities in the most professional manner in line with global best practices of adherence to the rules of engagement and protection of the fundamental human rights of the citizenry.
”The sweeping allegation peddled by the scholar is not only sad and unfortunate, but a calculated attempt to denigrate the Nigerian military and undermine the sacrifices of our patriotic troops, who are working tirelessly to restore peace and stability across the country.
”It is essential to remind ourselves that these same military, being accused of connivance, are the ones who recently put their lives on the line to rescue abductees of the Government Secondary School, Birnin Yawuri from kidnappers.
”While the NA will not attempt to excuse the possibility of black sheep amongst its fold, it must be stated unambiguously that it will not condone any form of sabotage or aiding and assisting the enemy by any personnel, as provisions for dealing decisively with such acts are crystallised in Section 45 (1) of the Armed Forces Act CAP A 20 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.
”It must also be pointed out, that while the military is very much receptive to constructive criticism, it should not be perceived as a gateway for derogatory comments that have the potential to embolden criminals. It is also necessary to reiterate that patriotism must be taken to a trajectory where subversive conversations on the state are brought to the barest minimum.
”Opinion leaders are enjoined to demonstrate patriotism in building the peace, rather than being agents of destabilization, thereby aggravating the current security challenges facing the nation. The NA wishes to reassure law abiding citizens, that troops will continue to conduct themselves professionally in consonance with the code of conduct guiding our operations in all combat engagements, in line with the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution and global best practice.
”Citizens are enjoined to continue to support military operations by providing useful information to defence and security agencies and together we shall rid our society of these criminal elements,” he said. (Daily Trust)