Erstwhile Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Azubuike Ihejirika, has described the allegation of sponsorship of the Boko Haram sect leveled against him by Dr. Stephen Davis as frivolous and
unfounded. He said the careless allegation was meant to divert the attention of the country and its
security agencies and also divide the country along religion and ethnic lines.
In a chat with journalists at the National Defence College, Abuja on Friday, Ihejirika warned against giving undue attention to the Australian’s claims.
He suggested that such allegation would have been dismissed if it was made in a developed country like the United States or the United Kingdom. The ex-Army boss added that some people considered his handling of the counter insurgency campaign high-handed, saying he owed such people no apologies.
His words: “If this accusation was made in a country like US or UK, it would not be discussed for one hour because they would wave it aside. But they are exploiting our traditional fault lines, a multi-religious multi ethnic, multi-cultural and young democracy, so what they have tried to do is aimed at achieving what they could not achieve. I have chosen to do this because we cannot allow national security to be toyed with; the need for security awareness in spite of the effort I put in at time and the effort being put by the current leadership of the Armed Forces, the need for security awareness still persists.”
“I want to urge all Nigerians to join hands to support Mr. President and members of the Armed Forces in their onerous task to rid this country of
terrorism. I want to further advise that baseless, unfounded and frivolous allegations like this have the capacity of diverting our attention, away from
the main problem. Nigeria must exist before you can hold a single political office and there is no compromise in the effort to have a peaceful and united Nigeria. Therefore, I have no apologies at all whatsoever to those who thought I was high handed.
“I used to explain to them that the Nigerian Army is not high handed, but every Army makes a lot of efforts to ensure that its troops operate within the rule of engagement.” Ihejirika recalled that his leadership recruited 9000 soldiers in 2013 to beef up the strength of the military and to monitor the borders more effectively. He urged Nigerians to avoid utterances that could bring down the morale of Nigerian troops, a situation which he warned, could be dangerous.
The retired senior officer pointed out that terrorists were waging a media warfare to achieve what they had not achieved through violence. He further
reiterated that he remained unshaken by the attention given to the allegation because of his belief that “we are yet to come to terms with the motives of the terrorists