-Army arrest two soldiers who maltreated a
physically challenged person in Onitsha
Paul Obi in Abuja
The Nigerian Defence Headquarters yesterday debunked claims on social media and online platforms that the military has perfected plans to exterminate followers of a particular religion.
The DHQ frowned at attempts by disgruntled elements to deploy online medium as tool to spread falsehood and cause disaffection across the country.
The denial by the Defence Headquarters came as some Christian elders were said to have been quizzed by the Department of State Service (DSS) over a purported online video soliciting for support to rebuild churches destroyed Boko Haram terrorists.
Director of Defence Information, Brig Gen Rabe Abubakar, said the new reports online alleging attempts by the military to crush a particular religion has severe implications for national security.
He said: “The attention of the Defence Headquarters has been drawn to a misleading, baseless and concocted online story that the Nigerian military is out to exterminate adherents of a particular religion in a particular region using surrendered Boko Haram terrorists.
“This story, to say the least, is mischievous, mendacious and calculated attempt to cause apprehension in the country and create division in the military.”
Abubakar held that the “Nigerian Armed Forces is constituted by Nigerians of all tribes and religious affiliation. It is therefore callous and outrageous for anybody to think of the military taking side with one religious group against another.
“More so, everybody knows that Boko Haram is enemy to all Nigerians, therefore, to think of using them against our people is indeed senseless. Religion and politics should not meddle with security affairs.
“The Nigerian Armed Forces is a symbol of national unity and cohesion and should not be a subject of smear campaign by unpatriotic, idle and ill-meaning elements hiding under unanimity of social media platforms.”
He assured that the “Nigerian military will not be distracted from carrying out its constitutional responsibility of defending the territorial integrity of our great nation and our citizens.
“Members of the public are therefore advised to be wary of such toxic message which clearly is an ill wind that blows no one any good, therefore should be discountenanced.
“Those behind such ungodly dissemination of falsehood, hate and divisive messages online are advised to desist forthwith in the best interest of national peace, security and unity as effort is underway to track them,” Abubakar stated.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Army saif it has arrested two soldiers alleged to have maltreated a physically challenged man in Onitsha, Anambra State.
Director of Army Public Relations, Brig Gen Sani Usman said: “The attention of the Nigerian Army has been drawn to a video clip in which two soldiers were seen maltreating a physically challenged person for allegedly wearing a camouflage shirt.
“We wish to inform the public that the incident took place on Tuesday 7th February 2017, at Onitsha, Anambra State. In line with our zero tolerance for acts of indiscipline and unprofessional conducts especially in relation to violation of human rights, we wish to further state that the soldiers involved have since been identified and apprehended.
“They have also been charged for assault by their Commanding Officer.
Similarly, troops have been warned to desist from such acts that infringe on human rights and cast serious aspersions on the good image of the Nigerian Army.
“The public should please regard this ugly incident as an isolated case which is not true reflection of the Nigerian Army,” Usman stressed.
Meanwhile, a statement from the office of the State PDP chairman, Felix Obuah, and signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Jerry Needam, said Rivers people are not surprised to hear such report and never expected anything to the contrary, stressing that the report of the Police panel had been concluded before the panel was even inaugurated.
The statement further said that the intent of the IGP’s panel ab-initio was to divert attention from all the atrocities, inhumanities and all manner of professional misconducts committed by the APC and the security agencies against the Rivers people during the re-run election of which visible evidences abound including photographs and live videos of Police Officers beating electoral officers and snatching electoral materials to rig the elections for the APC.
“We were full aware of this game plan and raised alarm for anybody who cared to listen, to hear yet the conspirators and political desperados feigned ignorance of our revelations and went ahead to hatch their evil plot. Today, we are happy we have been vindicated,” the statement said.
Our worry however, the PDP insists, is the politicisation of the Nigerian security agencies which portends serious danger not only to the nation’s democracy but also to the corporate entity called Nigeria.
The party expressed regret that the office of the Inspector General of Police that ought to be sacred could be brought so low as to connive with desperate and conscienceless politicians to murder justice by framing up crimes and charges against innocent citizens while the real criminals are shielded and eulogised as patriots.
“This is very unfortunate, ungodly and must not escape the wrath of God, if not now, definitely later”, the PDP declared.
The party wondered how a panel that claims impartiality could concentrate its investigations only in areas where the APC lost the election and did not bother with areas where the APC won.
It insisted that the panel report would not stand the test of justice anywhere in the world.