The Defence Headquarters has challenged the North-East leaders under the aegis of Borno-Yobe People’s Forum to go beyond rhetoric and prove their allegation that security forces are hands in glove with the radical Islamist sect, Boko Haram in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States.
The Director of Defence Information, Maj. Gen Chris Olukolade, who made this known on Wednesday, said while the allegations are weighty, the relevant intelligence security agencies are already looking into it.
The Defence spokesperson, however, warned that such unsubstantiated allegations could dampen the morale of troops, who are in the forefront of ensuring that the insurgency is quelled.
He stated, “The military cannot condone such tendencies (collaboration with Boko Haram) within its ranks. Just like any form of disloyalty, overt or covert collaboration attracts severe sanctions. This notwithstanding, allegation alone is not enough. It has to be proven.
“If anybody makes claims to the existence of collaborators in our midst, they should come forward with proofs. The issue here is not about speculation or suspicion, but about proof.
“Unsubstantiated allegation such as this gives the impression that those involve are merely out to create mistrust and undermine the cohesion among the troops. Is it with a motive to depress morale and the fighting spirit of the troops?”
Political and community leaders from Borno and Yobe states, had, at a news briefing in Abuja on Monday, alleged that there were indications that security forces were collaborating with the Boko Haram sect members. They cited instances where security agents were purportedly aware of impending attacks or were not proactive enough to forestall such attacks.
They particularly cited the gruesome attack on students of the Federal Government College, Buni Yadi, Yobe State, where security personnel allegedly withdrew from a check point on the road leading to the college hours before the attack that claimed lives of over 29 pupils.
A former Chief of Air Staff, Air-Vice Marshall Al-amin Dagash (retd.), who read the text of the press conference on behalf of the members of the forum, asked, “Are the authorities unaware of helicopters dropping arms and ammunition, food and medical supplies to areas well known to be strongholds of the insurgents?
“How were the insurgents able to attack the Maiduguri Air-Force Base and demobilise as well as burn planes and other military installations despite existing state of emergency and curfew in the town? How could 20 to 30 Toyota Hilux vehicles move in a convoy freely with subsisting curfew and still go undetected?”
They, therefore urged the Federal Government to unmask the sponsors of Boko Haram, adding that the state of emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states should not be extended when its current tenure elapses on April 19.
But in his response, Olukolade noted that the concern of the elders was understandable, however, the media was not the appropriate place to discuss progress of the investigations into the allegations.
He stated, “The allegations are serious indeed and are being treated as such. The relevant intelligence and security agencies are already working on this information. Be assured that work is ongoing accordingly”.
He assured that the safety of Nigerians was the major concern of the Security Forces, adding that it would not be compromised.
Olukolade stated, “As for the activities of collaborators, everyone knows that such acts are inimical and most unfortunate. It should be noted that even those who are sympathetic to the cause of terrorists also qualify as dangerous collaborators.
“To that extent, collaborators span borders; it’s not just Nigerians. But it is obvious that they exist out there as well. The military cannot condone such tendencies within its ranks.
Advising the elders, Olukolade said, “We should be more serious than to just go about insinuating that collaborators exist in the rank and file of the military just with a view to causing distraction or scoring cheap political points.
“The military has internal mechanism to check any tendency and will not hesitate to try anyone found culpable. Please spare us this unfair insinuation in times like this”.
IT IS GOOD THAT THE N/EAST ELDERS TO BRING THEIR PROOFS SO THAT THE WORLD AND THE PUBLIC TO KNOW THE REAL SPONSORS OF BOKO HARAM.BECAUSE OUR LIVES AND PROPERTIES ARE NOT SPARED.
The north/east elders forum should be ashamed of themselves. If you didn’t create the menace, What will make a military incursion into north East? What we bring state of emergence in the north/east? You be were busy making money to the detriment of your younger generation. Posterity will judge you
No matter how long a man lives, material things are ever material things! If we all had the fear of God in our hearts, we, as humans, would not have been destructive to ourselves and things of the world! May God, in His infinite mercy, grant us wisdom to learn His ways. Man comes into this world with nothing and CERTAINLY goes back with NOTHING. What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but LOSES his own SOUL? Who was with God to advise Him about how to lay the foundation of the earth? Who is that human being that can justifiably play God? I am filled with wonderment at human nature. Lord, help us.