Army denies colluding with bandits

General Farouk Yahaya [Photo: Mohammed Yerima].

The Nigerian Army has denied its personnel were colluding with bandits to cause havoc in the country as alleged by popular Islamic cleric, Ahmad Gumi.

Aside Mr Gumi, a former Defense Minister, Theophilus Danjuma, has also made the allegation against the military in the past.

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The cleric while appearing on Arise Television alleged that herdsmen-turned-bandits were colluding with security agencies to make money from banditry which he described as a booming business in the Northern part of the nation.

Reacting in a statement on Wednesday, the spokesman of the Army, Brigadier-General Onyema Nwachukwu, dismissed the accusation of the cleric.

The Army Public Relations Officer who described the allegation as sad and unfortunate said the Nigerian Army remained a symbol of national unity that had discharged its constitutional responsibilities in the most professional manner in line with global best practices.

He also said it was 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 Yauri from kidnappers,” Mr Nwachukwu said. “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.

“The 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.

“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 added.

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