Army accuses Amnesty International, others of crippling fight against insurgency.
Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai has accused some non-governmental organisations (NGOs), including Amnesty International (AI), of demoralizing the troops fighting the insurgency in the North East through unfounded allegations of human rights abuse.
Buratai, who made the allegation during an interactive session with journalists and members of the Guild of Editors (GE) at the Command Guest House, Maiduguri, Borno State at the weekend, said other sovereign nations would not accept what AI is doing in Nigeria.
“AI has been in Nigeria consistently undermining our reputations and demoralizing our troops through unfounded allegations of human rights abuse.”
To Buratai, the Army has been doing its best in the discharge of its constitutional duties, respecting the extant rules, including those of engagement. He said whenever there were proven cases of deviation from the rules of engagement, appropriate disciplinary measures had been taken against the erring personnel.
On the roles of the media in the anti-terrorism crusade, he said: “This interactive session was organized to fashion out ways of coming together to fight against the security challenges facing our dear country.
“I emphasize that you play a vital role in the areas of security and national development. While we fight with guns to protect the society, you fight with your pens to do the same. Fighting without one another is like fighting with one hand tied behind your back.
“We commend you for the wonderful role you have been playing in nurturing our nascent democracy. We solicit your support in our efforts to rid our society of daunting security challenges.”
The army chief blamed most of the security problems confronting the country on misinformation.
“We, therefore, have a great task of educating and enlightening the public on the true situation. An enlightened society understands its roles and makes a contribution towards enhanced national security and development.”
Buratai appealed to the media to exhibit a deeper understanding in the discharge of professional duties in the interest of national security. “We want you to trust us more as we continue to defend the territorial integrity of our country,” he pleaded.
On the recent Metele attacks, Buratai said: “It does not augur well for national security and troops’ morale when the military is portrayed as weak and corrupt, not trusted or respected. This was the case with the recent unfortunate attacks on our locations and the lopsided reports on them.”
He said the war against terrorism and insurgency “should be viewed and reported as it is: A war between Nigeria and terrorists and criminals, not our troops versus Boko Haram terrorists.”