In a statement, the Nigerian Army described as “sad and unfortunate” the claims made by a renowned Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, that security personnel are working with bandits to wreak havoc in the country.
Gumi said on Arise TV Wednesday that armed gangs would not have been able to get weapons if security personnel had not provided them with assistance.
In response to the allegations, the spokesperson for the Nigerian Army, Brig.-Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu said the comment was a calculated attempt to undermine the sacrifices of the Nigerian military.
In his address, Nwachukwu called on opinion leaders to act as agents of peace instead of distorting the existing security challenges.
“The Nigerian Army has been alerted to a submission by Sheikh Ahmad Abubakar Gumi who appeared on the morning show of ARISE TV on Wednesday, June 23, 2021. He claimed that Nigerian military was colluding with marauding bandits responsible for atrocities and crimes in the country.
In response to Sheik Gumi’s claims, the Nigerian Army (NA) wishes to state that it remains a genuine symbol of national unity which has carried out its constitutional responsibility in line with global best practices ensuring adherence to engagement rules and protection of human rights.
The scholar’s sweeping allegations are not only sad and unfortunate, but also a calculated attempt to demean the Nigerian military and undermine the sacrifices of our patriotic troops, who are working tirelessly to ensure peace and stability in the country.
It is important to remember that the very same military put their lives on the line to rescue abductees from the Government Secondary School, Birnin Yawuri, despite being accused of connivance.
It is understood that the NA will not attempt to excuse the possibility of black sheep within its ranks, but it must be clarified that it will not condone any form of sabotage or aiding and abetting the enemy by any of its members, the provisions for dealing with such acts being laid down in Section 45 (1) of the Armed Forces Act CAP A 20 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.
The military is very much receptive to constructive criticism, but it should not be perceived as a place for derogatory comments that might embolden criminals. It is also necessary to stress that patriotism must be taken to a place where subversive conversations about the state must be kept to a minimum.
Leaders of the country are urged to demonstrate patriotism and build peace, rather than being agents of distabilization, aggravating the nation’s present security challenges.
The NAF wishes to reassure law-abiding citizens that troops will continue to act professionally in line with the code of conduct guiding our operations in all combat engagements, in accordance with the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution and global best practice.
The citizens are urged to continue supporting military operations by providing useful information to defence and security agencies and together we can rid our society of these criminal elements.”