Awka – The Nigerian Army has denied claims by an Islamic Scholar, Sheikh Ahmed Gumi, alleging that non-Muslim soldiers were responsible for the attacks against bandits.
Gumi was in a video which went viral recently, seen telling the bandits that the soldiers involved in most attacks against them were non-Muslims.
He had further told the bandits to be aware that soldiers are divided into Muslims and non- Muslims.
But in a statement on Monday, the Director, Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Mohammed Yerima maintained that the Nigerian Army does not deploy its troops along ethnic or religious lines.
“While the Nigerian Army would not want to join issues with the respected Sheik Ahmed Gumi, it is however important to restate that the Nigerian Army, as national institution, does not deploy its troops along ethnic or religious lines,” it said.
The statement asked Sheikh Gumi and other opinion merchants to exercise restraint, so as not to drag the image and reputation of the Force to disrepute.
The Nigerian Army said it remains the pride of the nation and has continually defended the territorial integrity of the nation, warning that comments suggesting to mudslide the image and reputation of the Nigerian Army are not only inimical but tended towards creating bad blood amongst Nigerians.
It maintained that most 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.
“The Nigerian Army wishes to seize this opportunity to advise opinion leaders to be more courteous while expressing their views, taking into cognizance, the imperative for national security, particularly at this difficult times when our gallant troops have redoubled their efforts to tackle the myriads of security challenges facing our dear nation. What our troops need now is public support to discharge their responsibility effectively and in the most professional manner,” it said.