Again, the Nigerian Army, NA, has had to clear the air with regads to reports bordering on allegations of bias in the deployment of its personnel.
The NA, in a statement signed today by its Public Relations Director, Brig-Gen Mohammed Yerima, reacted to an online publication anchored by Sahara Reporters titled “NIGERIAN ARMY SHUNS SOUTHERN OFFICERS, DEPLOY NORTHERN COMMANDERS TO QUELL TENSION IN SOUTH EAST”.
TheFact Nigeria notes that SaharaReporters, in thier story, had maintained that “the Nigerian Army’s deployment of northern officers for its operations in the South-East region is contributing to the tension in the region”, and this is according to several military sources who spoke to them.
According to SaharaReporters, checks confirmed that the army posted Muslim and non-Igbo personnel as commanders over its operations and brigades in Anambra, Imo, Abia, Akwa Ibom, Enugu, Benue, Edo, Delta and Rivers.
Furthermore, part of the report of the online media states that the NA ‘has a body language of ethnic and religious domination for the southern states. The operations and brigades are led by officers who are estranged to the region; cannot relate to the needs and aspirations of the states and seemed to be brought to enforce subjugation”.
According to Yerima, the NA condemns the report, terming it ‘illogical narrative’, ‘targeted at steering discord and disunity among peace loving Nigerians who have refused to be drawn into supporting the senseless attacks on the security apparatus in the South East and South South geopolitical zones of the country.
The statement further emphasized that the NA as a national body does not promote or post its personnel along ethnic or religious lines, maintaining that ”postings in the NA are routine exercises and are based on professional competences, not as portrayed by the baseless publication”.
“For the records, let be clear in everyone’s mind that the NA does not train, deploy or operate along ethnic, religious, tribal or regional divides. Senior officers are posted to command units based on their capability and competence taking into consideration their posting history”.
Setting the record straight, the statement said that while it is true that the General Officer Commanding 82 Division Enugu, Major General Taoreed Lagbaja, is from South West, the Commander 34 Brigade Owerri, Brigadier General Raymond Utsaha, is from the North Central.
Major General Gold Chibuisi is of the South East extraction and is also the General Officer Commanding, 2 Division Ibadan, which is the largest in number of states under command including 4 Brigade in Edo State. Equally, Brigadier General Farouk Mijinyawa was never the Commander of 16 Brigade as misrepresented by the writer.
Meanwhile, the NA has urged the general public to know that in the past months, several subversive elements have attempted to discredit the formidable security network in the South East and the NA in line with her constitutional roles of aiding the civil authority deployed officers and men to checkmate the activities of these bad elements who are bent on wrecking havoc in the region.
Thus, the NA has requestef all peace loving Nigerians to disregard the content of the said article in its entirety as it lacks common logic, adding that under the able leadership of the Chief of Army Staff, COAS, Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru, it remains committed to the defence of the territorial integrity of Nigeria as well as protecting lives and properties of all citizens and residents in Nigeria.
The NA further solicited for the continuous support of all patriotic Nigerians in stamping out activities of criminals including subversive and divisive elements for a peaceful and prosperous Nigeria.