By Dapo Akinrefon
Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum, SMBLF, yesterday, faulted the recent demotion of the Theatre Commander of ‘Operation Lafiya Dole’, General Olusegun Adeniyi, by a rank, and the jailing of his assistant for 28 days with hard labour.
Adeniyi, who once led the onslaught against Boko Haram, was found guilty of violating some sections of the rules of engagement.
In a statement by Yinka Odumakin (South-West), Chief Guy Ikokwu (South-East), Senator Bassey Henshaw (South-South), and Dr. Isuwa Dogo (Middle Belt), the forum wondered why the rule was relaxed against northern Muslim officers, who were accused of giving out the routes of soldiers who were brutally murdered over two years ago, to Boko Haram.
The forum said: “Gen Adeniyi’s ordeal started with his complaints about those who sent him to lead troops to go and fight Boko Haram with bare knuckles.
The troops, under the gallant General, who had won so many awards and commendations for his command of Lafiya Dole, have now lost so many troops in combat, recently, raising questions on what happened to the last $1 billion released for Armed Forces to buy weapons.
“Section 15 (g) of the policy specifically forbids personnel from “posting any video, audio, materials pictures during exercises/operations.”
“The court-martial, however, found the Maj. Gen. guilty of producing and publicizing a video on the counter-insurgency operation in the North-East in a manner that embarrassed and ridiculed the armed forces of Nigeria.
He was, therefore, demoted by at least three years. His orderly, Tokunbo Obanla, a private, was also found guilty and sentenced to 28 days in jail with hard labour.
“The Nigerian Army had in July ordered Gen. Adeniyi to face court-martial, four months after he was seen in a rare video confessing that Nigerian troops were being outgunned by Boko Haram terrorists.
“Gen. Adeniyi was leading a large troop of soldiers on a special operation when they came under heavy attacks by Boko Haram.
“The Commander was seen in two of four video clips giving a recorded situation report to the Chief of Army
“He blamed the deadly attack his troops suffered on very wrong intelligence assessment earlier conducted before they were deployed.
“While it may be said that the Army is only enforcing its rule, why was the rule muted against northern -Muslim officers who were accused of giving out the routes of our soldiers who were brutally murdered over two years ago to Boko Haram.
And what has the Air Force done till date over the controversial killing of Tolulope Arotile in Kaduna last year, an officer renowned for deadly exploits against Boko Haram?
“It is an officer it commended for conducting a good fight against Boko Haram who is being promptly court-martialled because he says he now lacks weapons.