By CHIJIOKE OKORONKWO
ABUJA- The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Lucky Irabor, says Reuters’ allegation on secret abortion programme by the Nigerian military in the North-East is spurious and never occurred.
Irabor dismissed the claims on Thursday in Abuja during the 61st session of State House briefing organised by the Presidential Communication Team.
According to him, military authorities are aware of the fact that there are extraterritorial elements who really do not want peace.
“I am also aware the war economy has affected a good number of people and so, now that we are making progress, they think that we need to return to status quo ante.
“In any case you said you interviewed 33 women over a period of how many years, 2013 to date and then you were able to conclude.
“What type of extrapolation is that, that from 33 women, 10, 000 abortions were conducted?”
The defence chief said though Reuters sought for an interview with him, but its approach and bogus allegations did not deserve any dignified response.
“You (Reuters) are saying that the military since 2013 has been engaged in a planned abortion programme and that it is the military that is running that programme.
“And then in that letter you also indicated that perhaps, it is part of government’s design.’’
He also said that in the letter seeking for interview, Reuters had indicated that 12,000 abortions were conducted but reported 10,000 on Wednesday.
Irabor said that from the tone of Reuters letter, the news agency already had a mindset.
“So, since that was the position of Reuters, I didn’t think it was necessary for me to call them and engage…because that is outright nonsense.
“In the report, my name was mentioned, that at some stage, I was in charge of the operations, yes, of course, I was.
“In 2013, I was not in charge, I took leadership of the operation in North-East in 2016, that I did till the later part of 2017, close to two years, and there were other officers.
“…let me even confine myself to the time of my leadership of the North-East, the allusion they made is news to me, it never occurred.
“I never saw anything like that both from the centre in Giwa Project down to Maimalari cantonment where I lived and where we have 7 Division Hospital, the major hospital for the treatment of our personnel and their family and especially, the wounded.”
The chief of defence staff said that the media was fully engaged all through the various operations against insurgents.
“The whole essence of having such engagements was to say look, this war is real; the deaths and the wounds inflicted on our military are real.
“Please, come and see; we need you to work with us and I am glad that it paid off, and that is why today in the North-East sanity has not only returned, we have continued to play our part.’’
Irabor said that the military would not be deterred by the antics of those who were not happy with the peace in the North East.
“The Commander-in-Chief has absolute confidence in what the military is doing,” he added.(NAN)