The Nigerian Army has replied Kaduna-based Islamic cleric, Ahmad Gumi, after he accused soldiers of working with bandits.
Gumi, who is known to have access to armed bandits, had said some soldiers are colluding with the criminals in the northern part of the country.
However, reacting to the allegation in a statement on Wednesday, Onyema Nwachukwu, army’s spokesperson, said while it would not completely rule out the possibility of some soldiers working with the criminals, the army does not condone such act.
Nwachukwu warned against such allegation, saying it could embolden criminals.
“It is essential to remind ourselves that this same military, being accused of connivance, are the ones who recently put their lives on the line to rescue abductees of the Government Secondary School, Birnin Yauri, from kidnappers”, he said.
“While the NA will not attempt to excuse the possibility of black sheep amongst its fold, it must be stated unambiguously that it will not condone any form of sabotage or aiding and assisting the enemy by any personnel.
“The provisions for dealing decisively with such acts are crystallised in Section 45 (1) of the Armed Forces Act CAP A 20 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.
“It must also be pointed out, that while the military is very much receptive to constructive criticism, it should not be perceived as a gateway for derogatory comments that have the potential to embolden criminals.”
The army spokesperson enjoined opinion leaders to demonstrate patriotism in building peace, rather than being agents of destabilization.
He reassured Nigerians that troops will continue to conduct themselves professionally in consonance with the code guiding their operations in all combat engagements, as well as in line with global best practices.
“Citizens are enjoined to continue to support military operations by providing useful information to defence and security agencies, and together we shall rid our society of these criminal elements,” he added.