The Nigerian Army on Wednesday said it would investigate claims by the Methodist prelate, Dr. U. Uche, that the Fulani herdsmen that kidnapped him recently in Abia State were given cover by soldiers.
The Nigerian Army said this in a statement issued by its spokesman, Brig-Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu.
It reads: “The Nigerian Army (NA) has been notified of the insinuation making the rounds on social media, alleging complicity of troops of the Nigerian Army in the kidnap incident of the Methodist Prelate in Abia state recently.
While the Nigerian Army expresses concern and sympathy for the victim of this heinous crime and shares in his pains, the insinuation that troops are complicit in the kidnap incident is not entirely premised on any findings of investigations and therefore cannot be swallowed hook line and sinker. This allegation therefore raises some pertinent questions which are still unanswered.
Given, the spate of insecurity in the region, the question would be, was the issue reported to the unit covering the area? Did the Methodist Church take the NA into confidence while negotiating the ransom with the kidnappers? No formal complaint has been received by the unit. More worrisome is the fact that it was alleged that the ransom was paid in less than 24 hours. Was the ransome paid to troops? These are questions that beg for answers.
Moreso, the NA unit, has not received any debrief from the Prelate or the Methodist Church.
It is therefore, important to state that troops are deployed at Forward Operating Base(FOB) Okigwe and in front of the Abia State University Uturu and no information was made available to them or to 14 Brigade or any other formation, except the information making the rounds in the social media.
It must be clarified that troops’ deployment in the Nigerian Army is not done with considerations for ethnic affiliation, hence a deployment of troops of Fulani ethnic extraction who as alleged by the Prelate, carried out the dastardly act is not our practice or modus operandi in the NA.
Given our professional disposition and zero tolerance for any misconduct in the Nigerian Army , we will take this weighty allegation seriously and approach the Prelate and the Methodist church to unravel the basis for the allegation.