Officers of the Nigerian Army has been warned by the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. General Azubuike Ihejirika, against engaging in acts of religious extremism, adding that the army will not hesitate to flush out soldiers involved in such acts.
Speaking, weekend, at the graduation ceremony of the Basic Counter-terrorism Course 13/13 at the Nigerian Army Training Centre (NATRAC) in Kontagora, Niger State, Ihejirika said the army had discovered that inciting statements and materials were being distributed within the military.
“It has been observed of recent that a religious cleric has been distributing inciting statements, leaflets and compact disc loaded with information to confuse, misdirect and cause disaffection among you. It is also targeted at breaking the Espirit-de-corps which binds us together as a fighting force,” the COAS represented at the occasion by Commander of NATRAC, Major General Sylvester Audu said.
He described the allegations that the armed forces were opposed to amnesty for members of the Boko Haram sect as false, adding that soldiers should be able to read in between the lines to sieve lies, propaganda and misinformation that would end at nothing but to cause confusion within their ranks.
“Most of the spurious allegations recently raised by a religious cleric accusing the Joint Task Force (JTF) of conniving with Boko Haram members to give locations and timings to conduct attacks and that the armed forces is opposed to amnesty for the insurgents are untrue and baseless,” Ihejirika said.
“You can see for yourselves the infrastructure developments around you in Kontagora barracks which are also replicated in other barracks across the country to improve your efficiency, service delivery and well being,” he said, adding that training and re-equipping of the Nigerian Army was an ongoing project, while he urged soldiers to acquaint themselves with new equipment.
“Generally, welfare is being improved, new barracks are being built and old houses are also being renovated. In particular, I have released some funds for the renovations of soldiers’ accommodation to reduce the stress on the already stretched accommodation issue in NATRAC. I have also directed headquarters to come up with the design of a befitting students’ accommodation block,” the COAS said.
The course whose main objective was to avail the soldiers the requisite skill and knowledge to combat the current wave of contemporary security challenges in the country lasted for two months, was attended by a total of 1,600 young soldiers comprising 1,431 males and 169 females.