By Ben Agande
Abuja — The immediate past Chief of Army Staff, COAS, General Azubuike Ihejirika, has accused some northern elders of insensitivity to the sacrifice being made by the country’s armed forces and disseminating misleading information on the fight against terrorism.
Reacting to a statement credited to some Northern elders that he should be dragged before the International Criminal Court, ICC, for crimes committed by soldiers prosecuting the war against terrorism, the retired Army chief said such a call was misconceived and capable of demoralising soldiers making huge sacrifices for the nation, as well as jeopardising the war against terrorism.
Speaking with journalists at the State House, Abuja, after attending service at Aso Villa Chapel, Gen. Ihejirika accused the northern elders of not even bothering to send condolence messages to the military which had lost personnel fight terrorists in the North.
He said the elders should instead be thanking the military for making the sacrifices to keep the North safe, a situation the same elders stood to benefit more from.
He said: “My reaction to that is that their statement is ill-conceived, perhaps based on some misinformation.
“The northern elders should be thanking the service chiefs, my officers and myself for making huge sacrifices, first, to see that Nigeria is safe and the north in particular, since they are the first beneficiaries of the sacrifices being made.
“There is no senatorial zone in this country that has not lost a personnel of the armed forces. It is unfortunate that the same elders, if they are really elders, have not cared to send a single condolence message to the military.”
“I think that their statement is discouraging and it impacts negatively on the counter-terrorist efforts because as we speak, there are soldiers that have not had a meal since yesterday because of the peculiarity of where they are at the moment.”
General Ihejirika, however, expressed optimism that the fight against terrorism, which had been boosted by recent strategic measures, would very soon be over as the terrorists would be wiped out.
“It has been very busy thing. I believe that very soon Nigerians will be very happy because we have put quite a number of structures in place.
“I want to say that with some equipment and training that were carried out in recent days, there will be little or no hiding place for the insurgents,” he said.