Army angrily dismiss claims of ethnic cleansing in military
Cyril Mbah, Abuja.
Nigeria’s Army High Command has reacted angrily to allegations of ethnic cleansing levelled against it in an article titled: “Secret Fulani plan unveiled – the compromised army chief,” which dominated the social media last weekend.
The publication had alleged that the military now deploys only Igbo and Christian personnel from the south and Middlebelt areas and leaks their movement to terrorists who attack and kill them.
While describing the publication as “callous and cowardly,” the Army also said, “enemies of Nigeria’s peace and unity are responsible for peddling such unhealthy rumours that soldiers are deployed along ethnic and religious lines.”
Director of Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Mohammed Yerima, said in a statement on Monday that the claims were “illogical and a pathetic narrative.”
He denied allegations that “two Igbo officers, Lt. Col. Okeke and Lt. Col. Ajah, alongside 44 others, who were predominantly Southern and Middle Belt Christian officers, lost their lives in a conspiracy hatched by Fulani senior officers,” claiming that the military had no record of the names mentioned in its personnel inventory.
He said, “For the umpteenth time, the callous and cowardly enemies of Nigeria’s peace and unity are at their worst moments of divisive and subversive rhetoric against the formidable sovereignty of our beloved nation and its patriotic Nigerian Army.
“However, to put the record straight, it should be clear that the Nigerian Army does not train, deploy or operate along ethnic, religious, tribal or regional divides.
“In the past, several subversive elements have attempted to infiltrate the formidable ranks of the Nigerian Army to sow the seed of discord among its personnel but failed. This is mainly due to the loyalty and belief of the Nigerian Army in one great country, Nigeria.
“The amateurish article presented in self-styled stages 1-9 in a fictitious movie-like scenario devoid of even the basic rudiments of a news report but yet laced with potent hatred and venom for Nigeria and its proud citizens. One cannot but forgive the illiterate writer of this article and his sponsors for referring to the Chief of Army Staff as Lt. Gen. Jega (Stage 1, paragraph 1).
“Similarly, on the alleged killing of some personnel, a quick check on the Nigerian Army personnel database returned negative for Lt. Cols. ND Okeke and Aja, as there are no names, matches currently in service of the Nigerian Army who was alleged to have been killed in a conspiracy whatever that means.
“The Nigerian Army also wishes to reiterate its commitment to the protection of our territorial integrity, defending lives and properties of all citizens and residents in Nigeria,” the statement concluded.