The Nigerian high command said claims of corruption, nepotism by an online media platform (Not The Guardian) is a smear campaign calculated to destabilise the country.
Spokesman of the army, Brig General Onyema Nwachukwu who made the disclosure noted that the Nigerian Army has noted with dismay, a mischievous and systematic smear campaign by the online medium, aimed at inciting troops, heating up the polity and destabilizing the country through spurious, baseless and false alarm on corruption, nepotism, ethnic and religious bigotry within the Nigerian Army (NA).
According to Nwachukwu, “A report which could be best described as being at total dissonance and aberance with the virtues and symbol of national unity, which the NA and indeed the Armed Forces of Nigeria represent.
“The report also contained some unimaginable slurs targeted at denigrating and demonizing the procedure for the selection of competent troops for Peace Support Operations (PSO), which has over the years earned the NA very well deserved encomiums and enviable status in the comity of nations in global defence, as a professional, hard-fighting, and disciplined institution.
“Considering the unprofessional and irresponsible manner in which the smear allegations were concocted against the NA, it clearly depicts a delusional perception and an abysmal bereftment of the slightest clue on routine processes of deployment exercises in the NA.
“This incorrigible attitude has only further crystalized the inordinate desire of Sahara Reporters to incite mayhem and breakdown of law and order in a concerted effort to engender violence and destabilize the nation, through devious desperate and self-serving machinations.
“It is expedient to state that the real intention or otherwise of the infamous online media in publishing such toxic concoctions at this critical period is targeted at causing disaffection within a united and formidable military.
“It is clear that deliberate falsehood and noxious narratives orchestrated by the online media were to adorn the Nigerian Army in an unfitting garb of infamy calculated to whip up unnecessary aspersion to distract the NA.
“The online news report could have been ignored given its pedigree of unprofessional and yellow page journalism, however, the unacceptable falsehood being propagated demands clarification for the in the interest of well-meaning Nigerians and in honour of selfless officers and soldiers, who have continued to pay the price of defending the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the nation and global peace.
“It is on record that officers and soldiers of the NA under the current leadership like never before, have witnessed exceptional positive changes in the morale, fighting spirit and physical components of the force. It is therefore crucial to state in very clear terms, that posting and redeployment in various formations and units, including the Army Headquarters is a routine exercise, aimed at ensuring that the NA is effectively manned for operational efficiency and effectiveness. “Furthermore, over the years, the NA has been very firm with the criteria for selection of those to serve in the PSOs, which include, that personnel must have participated in the ongoing counter-terrorism counter-insurgency operations in the North East for at least 2 years, among other criteria.
“In case the online media and those who fed it all the lies it published do not know, it is on record that the NA has never had it so good, given the quantum of combat and logistics equipment that have been injected into the theatres of operations, a circumstance that has evidently turned the tide against the complex array of threats facing the nation.
“This is in addition to welfare packages introduced by the incumbent leadership of the NA. More also, aside the prompt payment of salaries and operational allowances, welfare flights have been inaugurated, which significantly reduced the burden of troops traveling in and out of the theatres to see their loved ones.
“This is also in addition to a huge commitment to the medical needs of wounded-in-action officers and soldiers and the barracks communities. Scholarships are also being awarded to children and wards of officers and soldiers who paid the supreme price in ongoing operations.
“It is worthy of note, that across all NA Barracks, there are deliberate efforts at providing conducive working and living conditions for troops and their families. These interventions in the form of massive barracks construction and renovation works with visible footprints, are bringing succour to NA personnel nationwide.
“In light of the unprecedented improvement in the NA, one should be curious to interrogate, the ulterior motives for which the online media is so easily sucked in by the antics of conflict merchants and agents provocateurs, who are uncomfortable with the steadfastness, patriotism, unwavering commitment, sacrifice, ruggedness, and resoluteness of the Nigerian Army in stamping out terrorism, banditry and other violent crimes bedeviling the nation and the West African sub-region.
“Could it be that the online media is doing it for selfish gains to plunge the nation into chaos, which is worth interrogating by those who are interested in distinguishing between rogue journalism and professional one. Let it be known to those who concocted the lies that the gallant officers and soldiers of the NA are undeterred, undistracted and unfazed by the harebrained assertions contained in that mischievous report.
“The desperate effort by the authors of this unpatriotic report to denigrate the NA by giving ethno- religious, and nepotic coloration to the activities of the NA, is nothing but an inglorious attempt to woo unsuspecting members of the public with bigotry bargains, laced heavily with uncanny intent. It must be made inarguably clear that the NA remains a symbol of national unity and therefore cannot afford to be divided along ethno-religious lines.
“It must be asserted here that the NA under the current leadership has remained resolute in carrying out its constitutional role and will vigorously continue to implement welfare programs for the benefit of all personnel.
“Troops deployed in ongoing operational engagements are putting in their best in defence of the nation and should be encouraged, rather than plotting disaffection amongst them. All personnel of the NA are urged to remain steadfast and unswayed by the antics of unpatriotic elements, who for selfish gains want to plunge the nation into chaos.”