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Army denies backing criminal suspects’ release in Enugu

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By Millicent Onaga, Enugu 

The Nigerian Army has debunked the alleged claims that it sponsored the release of the suspected kidnapper of Abia State University lecturers who was arrested by its men on patrol. 

The claims which emanated from the lawmaker representing Isuikwuato Constituency in Abia State House of Assembly allegedly accused the Army of abetting criminal elements in Isiukwuato Local Government Area of the state. 

In a similar development, the Army headquarters also denied alleged claims of recruiting former Boko Haram terrorists who surrendered and said to have gone through de-radicalization and rehabilitation, saying the claims are baseless and a figment of imagination of its authors.

According to a statement by Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu, Director, Army Public Relations, “The attention of the Nigerian Army has been drawn to a spurious allegation by an assembly member representing Isuikwuato constituency of Abia State who alleged that when security agents arrested suspected kidnappers of Abia State University lecturers, a certain call came from a high military formation ordering the release of the arrested suspects despite strong evidence linking them with the said crime.

“Much as we do not want to join issues with the insinuators, it is crucial to set the record straight. If truly the claims in the said report emanated from the lawmaker, then we must state without mincing words that they are not only unfounded but a travesty of facts and reality. 

“The claim is completely devoid of truth. It is most unfair for anyone at that height of the social ladder to sponsor a smear campaign against the Nigerian Army for whatever reason; particularly knowing that he has access to the leadership of the military.

“Contrary to the narrative being peddled in the said report, it took the gallantry of our men on patrol to rescue the victims of the said kidnap incident before handing them over to the police. How then could the same Army that was instrumental to the rescue of the victims, turn around to order the release of the suspects. Evidently, this is illogical and a blatant lie.

“The Nigerian Army therefore, wishes to state that the misguided report is actually an abysmally failed attempt at blackmailing the NA for denying unscrupulous elements the freedom of action to foist lawlessness and violence on the good people and government of Abia state.

“The honourable lawmaker should have abinitio, sought clarifications from the Army before resorting to media trial.

“We therefore appeal to members of the public to approach the Army on any issue requiring clarification rather than resorting to blackmail.

“The Nigeria Army is firmly committed to the fight against banditry and criminality in the country. Nigerians, including residents of Abia state are assured of their security as we relentlessly continue to discharge our constitutional responsibilities.”

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