The Nigerian Army has asked Sheikh Ahmed Gumi and other opinion leaders to exercise restraint not to drag the image and reputation of the Army to disrepute.
A statement by the Director Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Mohammed Yerima says while the Nigerian Army would not want to join issues with Sheik Ahmed Gumi, it is however important to restate that the Nigerian Army as a national institution, does not deploy its troops along ethnic or religious lines.
This, according to the army became necessary after it’s attention was drawn to a viral video-clip showing the Islamic scholar, Sheikh Ahmed Gumi alleging that non-Muslim soldiers were responsible for the attacks against bandits.
In the video clip, the Islamic scholar was seen telling the bandits that the soldiers involved in most attacks against them were non-Muslims. He further stated that they should be aware that soldiers are divided into Muslims and non-Muslims.
Defended the territorial integrity
The Nigerian Army says it remains the pride of the nation and has continually defended the territorial integrity of the country, explaining that comments intending to mudslide the image and reputation of the Nigerian Army were not only inimical, but tended towards creating bad blood amongst Nigerians.
The statement also said operations conducted by the Nigerian Army were done in strict adherence to rules of engagement, code of conduct and respect for the fundamental human rights of the citizenry without any exception.
“It is therefore, disturbing that an opinion leader would deliberately want to disparage the Nigeria Army to portray it in bad light,“ it stated.
The Army therefore adviced opinion leaders to be more courteous while expressing their views, taking into cognisance the imperative for national security, particularly at this difficult times when the gallant troops have redoubled their efforts to tackling the myriads of security challenges facing Nigeria.
It emphasised that the troops need public support to discharge their responsibilities effectively and in the most professional manner.