The Nigerian Army has dismissed the statements credited to the Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, that its personnel was colluding with bandits terrorizing Nigerians in various parts of the country.
The Director of Army Public Relations, Brig.-Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, in a statement issued on Wednesday evening, said the Nigerian Army remained a symbol of national unity and had discharged its constitutional responsibilities in line with global best practices.
Gumi, who featured in a programme on ARISE TV, “Morning Show,” called for an immediate overhaul of the nation’s security architecture if the problems insurgents and banditry must come to an end in the country.
However, the army said the Gumi’s allegation is not only sad and unfortunate but a calculated attempt to denigrate the Nigerian military and undermine the sacrifices of soldiers who are working tirelessly to restore peace and stability across the country.
The statement read: “It is essential to remind ourselves that this 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 Yawuri, from kidnappers.
“While the Nigerian Army 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.
“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 army spokesman urged opinion leaders to demonstrate patriotism in building peace, rather than being agents of destabilisation by aggravating the current security challenges facing the nation.