Army chief directs troops to go after hoodlums, looters nationwide
The Chief of Army Staff, COAS, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai on Monday warned hoodlums and criminals parading themselves as protesters looting warehouses and private properties and directed the military commanders and troops to go after them nationwide to stop the madness.
Addressing principal staff officers (PSOs), general officers commanding (GOCs) and field commanders at a meeting held at the Army headquarters, Abuja, Gen Buratai denied the allegation that the army masterminded the miscreants involved in the arson, vandalism and looting of public and private property going on in many cities.
While reaffirming the absolute loyalty of officers and the soldiers of the Nigerian Army to the Federal Government, the COAS made it clear to his men that there must be no room for disloyalty amongst all officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army.
He said the PSOs, GOCs and Field Commanders must reiterate to all their subordinates that the Nigerian Army was determined to ensure democratic stability in the country as the only panacea for development and progress.
He added at the end of the meeting, the PSOs, GOCs and field commanders resolved to “remain loyal to the Federal Government of Nigeria under President Muhammadu Buhari, ensure the unity and indivisibility of our country, assist the Federal Government to bring an end to insecurity across the country and to prevent miscreants and criminals from hijacking the ENDSARS protest nationwide.”
According to the statement read by the Army spokesperson, Col. Sagir Musa, on behalf of the COAS, Buratai charged the commanders to nip in the bud the trend at all cost, and further directed them to warn their troops on internal security or guard duties outside the barracks to be at “maximum alert at all times and to also deal decisively with any attack on their duty locations.”
According to him, “The recent activities by unscrupulous elements have shown their desire to acquire arms and ammunition at all cost from security personnel. No less than 10 AK-47 rifles have been lost to these miscreants in the past two weeks across the country with attendant loss of lives of personnel.”
Gen Burati who declared that the Nigerian Army must be resolute in preventing agents of destabilisation from achieving their goals said, “We will not allow any force, elements or destabilising agents in or outside our country to set our beloved country on fire.”
According to him, “We remain resolute in doing everything possible to ensure that subversive elements, detractors and other enemies of this great nation do not achieve their aims and objectives of destabilisation.”
The COAS drew the attention of the participants to the EndSARS protests which he said resulted in widespread violence and wanton destruction of property, noting that the army was aware from the outset the plan by the organisers to orchestrate a crisis and discredit the Nigerian Army.
According to him, “the plan was to embark on massive propaganda to discredit the military and the government to set the people against the Nigerian Army once it is called out to aid the civil authorities.
“The Nigerian Army being aware of the devilish plan was careful not to be dragged in and issued the initial warning through a press release on 14 October 2020 of our resolve to secure and safeguard a united Nigeria.
“Now the detractors alongside their local and international collaborators have mischievously and deliberately misrepresented troops’ efforts to ensure compliance with the curfew imposed by legitimate civil authorities in Lagos and other states.”
The Army Chief accused unnamed individuals and groups of falsely accusing the Nigerian Army of being responsible for the activities of the miscreants “despite glaring evidence to the contrary.”
According to him, “They have continually threatened to report the NA to the International Criminal Court and also threatened various forms of sanctions against personnel and their families.
“Thankfully, however, a large percentage of Nigerians and the international community have started seeing through the smokescreen of falsehood and deliberate misrepresentation of facts being orchestrated by enemies of Nigeria and have retracted their earlier false publications.”
Tasking his men on their responsibility, Buratai admonished that none of the PSOs, GOCs, field commanders and other officers and soldiers of the NA should be afraid of the ICC for carrying out their legitimate duties as stated in the Constitution and other extant laws, rules and regulations.
The COAS charged the officers to show the detractors and other elements of destabilisation that “they are neither part of them nor in any way supportive of their activities at all times.”
He directed that any act of arson or attempt to kill or maim any military or security personnel and other law-abiding civilians must be responded to quickly and decisively.
According to Buratai, “In dealing with any security threat, troops must fully cooperate with personnel of the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies and must ensure that everyone is in full compliance with imposed curfews and any other extant security instructions in force.”
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