By Kingsley Omonobi
The Nigerian Army on Tuesday night denied recruiting former Boko Haram Terrorists who have surrendered and had gone through de-radicalization and rehabilitation saying the claims are baseless and a figment of imagination of its authors.
This is just as the Army headquarters also denied what it described as blackmail alleging that troop’s in the South East are aiding and abetting Criminal elements from a certain part of the country.
A statement by Brig Gen Onyema Nwachukwu, Director, Army Public Relations said, “Our attention has been drawn to an online video making rounds in the social media by one Young Elder and produced by Anthony Jay.
“In the video, the so called Young Elder attempted to draw conclusion from the collapse of the Afghan military and trying very hard to relate it to the ongoing surrender by the Boko Haram/ Islamic State West Africa Province Terrorists in Nigeria.
“The Young Elder in a comic way tried to express worries about the surrendered terrorists.
“While it is understood that the situation in Afghanistan calls for concerns by any right thinking person or organisation, the manner in which the comic Young Elder presented it shows his lack of basic knowledge on the subject he hurriedly delved into.
“The amateurish production conjured some unfounded and baseless claims that only exist in the figment of their imagination, claiming that surrendered terrorists where going to be absorbed into the Nigerian Army (NA).
“For the avoidance of doubt, the NA does not have any repentant terrorists joining its ranks and does not have any plan for that.
“There are teaming able-bodied Nigerians that are willing to join the NA and genuinely help in the fight against terrorism and other violent crimes.
“The NA therefore is not desperate for prospective recruits to stoop so low and engage the services of former terrorists.
“As a general rule, it is not even recommended to absorb former fighters into the services of a regular military.
“The NA wish to state that the campaign of falsehood embarked upon by some individuals who do not wish the nation well cannot distract its personnel from their resolve to bring an end to the violent crimes in the country.
“We wish to reiterate that the NA under the leadership of the Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Faruk Yahaya will continue to operate within the dictates of the law.
“Surrendered terrorists will be received, processed and passed to the appropriate Government agencies that are saddled with the responsibility of handling them.
“While we recommend that matters related to security be left with those who have the requisite expertise and experience, we wish to remind comic characters like Young Elder to focus on contributing towards nation building and not engaging in campaign of falsehood.
Similarly, it said, “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 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 Hon. 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.”