Military Not Targeting Muslims In War Against Terror
The Defence Headquarters on Tuesday stated the military is not targeting either Muslims or Fulani for elimination in its counter-terrorism strategy.
It said the military has remained non-partisan and non-sectarian.
The Director of Defence Information, Maj-Gen. Chris Olukolade, faulted allegations of religious and ethnic cleansing by Jama’atul Nasril Islam (JNI).
The DHQ said: “The statement issued by the Secretary General of Jama’atul Nasril Islam (JNI), Dr Khalid Abubakar Aliyu alleging extra-judicial killing of Muslims and people of Fulani ethnic group by the Nigerian military is spurious and inflammatory.
“Much as the military is reluctant to join issues with a respectable religious organisation like JNI, the need to set the records straight makes this response imperative.
“The Nigerian military remains non-partisan, non-sectarian and will continue to be the symbol of patriotism and a unifying factor in the face of threats to national sovereignty.
“If this wild allegation was meant to cause disaffection or brew disharmony within the military, then it has woefully failed as the Nigerian military does not operate along religious or ethnic lines.
“Contrary to the false claims, no law abiding individual, faith, ethnic group or organisation is being targeted as alleged by JNI.”
The Defence Headquarters advised JNI not to join propagandists who are trying to run down the military.
The statement said: “It is unfortunate that the unjust imputation is coming from respectable and responsible organisation like JNI.
“We urge the body not to join in the fray of propagandists bent on discrediting genuine efforts at finding solutions to the nation’s security challenges.
“The military will continue to be driven by patriotism and commitment to the cause of the nation and its law abiding citizens.
“All responsible organisations are requested to cooperate in the efforts at.addressing the nation’s security challenges rather than compound the problem.
“Individuals with similar prejudices are advised to abandon such biases as the challenges at hand call for prayers and support of all well-meaning organisations and groups instead of trying to turn the public against the military.
“Rather, all responsible organisations should be more interested in seeking solutions to the nation’s security challenges.
“It must be noted that the Armed Forces comprises Nigerians from all religious persuasions and cannot be used against any particular religion as purported. The military will not be distracted by unfair imputations from any quarters.
The DHQ assured Nigerians that it would not shield anyone from justice.
It added: “For the avoidance of doubt, the Nigerian military and other security agencies do not have any policy, agenda or plans to perpetrate massacre or extra judicial killing of law abiding citizens.
“The authorities have no reason to take side or shield anyone from justice.
“Individuals apprehended in the course of counter-terrorism campaign will continue to have access to justice as provided by law.”