By Sumaila Ogbaje, Abuja.
The Nigerian Army says it will not succumb to intimidation by the International Society for Civil Liberty and Rule of Law (INTERSOCIETY) in its effort to rubbish the Army’s image and reputation.
The Director of Army Public Relations, Brig.-Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, said this in a statement on Saturday in Abuja.
Nwachukwu said that INTERSOCIETY had continued with its antics of dragging the image of the Nigerian Army in the mud, while promoting irredentists, lawless and outlawed organisations.
He said that the allegation by the organisation that the Nigerian military, especially the Army, had been working with armed herdsmen/bandits to terrorise the Eastern part of the country and Benue was libellous, spurious and derogatory.
According to him, a cursory look at the content reveals a business-as-usual pattern of propaganda by the well-known, paid jobbers and fifth columnists christened INTERSOCIETY.
Nwachukwu said: “Unfortunately for these mischief makers, the highly patriotic and untiring efforts of the Nigerian Army to neutrally defend the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Nigeria is visible enough and boldly seen by all and have received international accolades.
“It is on this unmistakable pedigree, that the Army wishes to dismiss these concoctions and evil propaganda, peddled and served to unsuspecting members of the public by INTERSOCIETY.”
The Army spokesman alleged that INTERSOCIETY was covertly sponsored by the proscribed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) and the Eastern Security Network (ESN) with the singular purpose of destabilising the country.
“It is on record that the Nigerian Army conducted and will still conduct series of exercises, not only in the South-Eastern states, but across all the states of the federation.
“This has reasonably reduced criminality, especially in the South East, where INTERSOCIETY’s cohorts like IPOB and ESN can no longer enjoy freedom of action to unleash death and mayhem on Ndigbo and other Nigerians, who do not support their evil bid.
“INTERSOCIETY’s unprofessional posture is crystal clear and evident in its biased and unbalanced submissions and reportage, as it has never openly condemned the atrocious activities of IPOB/ESN, for which it is fronting.
“INTERSOCIETY will rather turn a blind eye when these groups illegally deny law-abiding citizens their rights to freedom of movement and association, through their illegal sit-at-home order.
“They also pretend not to notice attacks on military, police, paramilitary personnel and other security agencies, attack and callous beheading of Nigerians, including Ndigbo, destruction of government facilities and infrastructure, amongst myriads of other nefarious activities,” he said.
Nwachukwu said that the Army had, through the conduct of its exercises, checkmated and drastically reduced their criminal activities and other sundry crimes in South-Eastern Nigeria.
He said that the recently concluded Nigerian Army Day Celebration (NADCEL) 2022, held in Owerri, Imo, saw the Nigerian Army bringing succour to the South Easterners through organised medical outreaches, renovation of schools, sinking of boreholes and road repairs.
These, according to him, are totally in dissonance with the image being concocted of the Nigerian Army by the glorified Civil Society Organisation (INTERSOCIETY) and their collaborators.
“The Nigerian Army, therefore, remains a professional institution that is resolved to protect the territorial integrity of Nigeria.
“The Nigerian Army will never be distracted by mischief makers, who find pleasure in blackmailing and defaming the institution to gain cheap publicity and satisfy the interest of fifth columnists, in their unrelenting effort to destabilise the nation.”
According to him, the Army is not by this reaction denying the presence of black sheep in its fold, just like in any other organisation or institution.
“We are very mindful of and actively monitoring and effectively handling the issue of black sheep in our fold, within the provisions of extant laws.
“We call on INTERSOCIETY to channel its energy like the Nigerian Army into nation building, rather than tearing our nation apart. Nigeria remains our nation and no other.
“The Nigerian Army will continue to count on the support of all Nigerians and the international community, as it selflessly continues to carry out its constitutional mandate to defend Nigeria and restore sanity and peace in all troubled parts of the country,” he added.