The Military High Command has denied allegations that its troops were supervising killings in Benue State and other communities.
This is just as the Defence Headquarters dismissed the alarm raised by Kaduna State governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, that bandits could take advantage of the transition period in May 29 to launch bloody attacks in the country.
El-Rufai had on Wednesday through his Commissioner of Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, while presenting a security report in Kaduna, the state capital, gave a stern warning against the activities of the terrorists during the transition period.
The governor specifically called for sustained simultaneous ground and air kinetic actions across the seven frontline states in the North-West zone and Niger which had contiguous forest ranges and were most heavily impacted by the security challenge.
According to him, the operation was to prevent a dangerous lull during the transition period at the federal level which the criminal outlaws could exploit.
But, reacting to El-Rufai’s alarm while answering questions from journalists shortly after bi-weekly press briefing at Defence Headquarters in Abuja on Thursday, the Director, Defence Media Operation, Maj.-Gen. Musa Danmadami, described the alarm as “unnecessary”.
Danmadami, who recalled security advisories issued by the United States and United Kingdom, wondered why critical stakeholders have continued to make the Nigerian populace more apprehensive, insisting that the military is always ready to neutralise any threat.
“Just like the general elections have come and gone, winners have been announced, people are just being apprehensive by insinuating the security situations that are not there.
You will recall that there was a US advisory warnings but up till now, there is nothing to show that, and we are still waiting for the consequences. People have been predicting that this country would finish but nothing has happened.
“Members of the Armed Forces like I always tell you, will continue to be on standby, we are not resting on our oars to ensure that peace and security of this country is sustained.
“I can equally assure you that the intelligence community too are working round the clock just like the armed forces are also working round the clock to ensure that there is peace and tranquility,” the senior military officer said.
Speaking on the allegations of Benue youths that soldiers deployed in the State look the other way while herders maim and killing innocent Nigerians, he said “Anybody telling you that story is telling lies. The army will not see people coming to attack a location and sit back. In most of our briefings we tell you, most times we get information and we respond, most at times before we get to that location unfortunately the people have committed their mayhem and then will disappear.
“Sometimes we follow them up in a pursuit operations and have an encounter with them and in the process some of them are eliminated while some people are arrested.
“You may find out that it is possible that those people came in uniforms, not everybody, people are carrying AK-47 all over the place.
“Anybody can get the uniform and wear it and disguise as a military personnel but that does not make them military personnel. Our soldiers are properly trained and we carry out our job in a professional manner even if it’s one soldier there, the soldier will do what is needful even if it means giving his life so that story is totally false.
Soldiers will not be in a place and people will come to attack civilians. It is our primary responsibility to protect life and property of every citizen of this country. Our soldiers will not be in a place and refuse to respond.”
He noted further that “In fact, the mere fact that soldiers were even there is enough deterrent for them to leave that place. I can assure you that one and if is not enough deterrent when they come, they will be decisively death with accordingly. It’s as simple as that”.
The military’s spokesman disclosed that there were a lot of follow-up operations on a daily basis after the just-concluded general elections and people moving ammunition from one point to another to go and commit havoc are being arrested.
He stated: “I can assure you that there are a lot of follow-up operations going on every day. People are being arrested, people who are on the verge of trying to commit crime are being arrested, people who are moving ammunition from one point to the other to go and commit havoc are being arrested everyday as it was reflected in the brief for today.
“We are working round the clock, both the intelligence community and the Nigeria’s Armed Forces of Nigeria are working round the clock to make sure we nip these things in the bud and if it happens, we respond to it appropriately.
“So, there should be no fear, people should not be afraid that when they hand over there is going to be calamity all over the place. I can assure you that we are ready to address whatever calamity that wants to come up, we are ready for that.
“People should just go about their normal duties and forget about all this apprehension people are creating unnecessarily. There is no cause for alarm, everything is under control.
On the long holiday, as usual, there was no problem, Easter came and went, the same thing, Sallah will come and go, and definitely there won’t be any problem. There may be one or two isolated cases but they will definitely be addressed.”
He also called on intelligence agencies to quickly expose those funding militant groups and by extension, terrorism.
The DDMO added, “Funding of militant groups, there are a lot of schools of thought as per who is funding of terrorism in Nigeria, I’ll allow the intelligence community to do that, that is not my job to do.”