By Senator Iroegbu in Abuja
The Army has denied an online report which the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) alleged that the Service was planning to steal bodies from mass grave in Zaria.
The Deputy Director, Army Public Relations (DAPR), 1 Div. Nigerian Army Kaduna, Col. Abdul Usman, in a statement yesterday, said that such claims “Is simply a figment of their jaundiced imagination and a campaign of calumny against the Army”.
Usman described as unfounded, the report which stressed that a contingent of soldiers had been deployed to keep guard at the site of the mass grave in an effort to prevent the uncovering of the hundreds of bodies buried there.
“The Army strongly and categorically reject the IMN’s unfounded and spurious allegation. It is simply a concoction of lies and deliberate effort by the IMN to portray the Nigerian Army’s image negatively.
“The Nigerian Army will like to make it abundantly clear that it has never contemplated such act at any time. It’s of no relevance whatsoever, we are focused on discharging our constitutional duty as a professional military force. We expect any responsible media to double check such weighty allegations before going to press. Nigeria’s national security and interest must never be toyed with”, he said.
The DDAPR noted that the Nigerian Army as a law abiding entity had already stated its facts regarding the December 12-14incident in Zaria before the Justice Mohammed Lawal Garba led Judicial Commission of Inquiry.
For the avoidance of doubt, he said, the commission had on April 27, 2016 visited all the sites of the incident in Zaria including the grave site in Kaduna.
“It was widely aired. It is not the duty of the Army to guard any public grave site other than our own designated military cemeteries”, he added.
Usman claimed that the IMN’s desire was to whip up public sympathy not minding their crimes over several years against the people of Zaria as testified by the parties at the just concluded sitting of the commission.
According to him, the IMN failed to state her facts or opinion if any as regards the incident of December 12th and 14th 2015 before the judicial commission of inquiry.
“While we await the report of the judicial commission, we would like to call on the general public to disregard this unfounded claim,” he urged.
Usman also assured that the Nigerian Army will continue to safeguard the lives and property of all citizens in every part of our great country, adding “that is our mission”.