Worried over the repetitive nature of Amnesty International reports on the activities of the military in the North East the Defence headquarters has alleged it is part of an orchestrated effort to prevent the military from procuring needed weapons from abroad to prosecute the war on insurgency.
Defence spokesman, Brigadier-General John AgI’m, at the weekend noted that the Amnesty International (AI) May report that accused the military of human rights abuses was a rehash of previous reports tailored to tarnish the image of the Nigerian military in the eyes of the international community.
Again, he denied the report, which centred on alleged cases of rape against soldiers.
He hinted that for selfsh and other reasons, some elements within the civil society organisations wanted the war on terror prolonged.
This position corroborates others from the North-east that some CSOs took long leases on office and housing accommodation as if expecting the insurgency to be a long-drawn one.
There have also been reports of major hotels in Maiduguri, Borno State been almost fully booked at all times.
But commenting on AI report, Agim said, “If you look at the report that was published in May, it was not different from earlier ones. Besides, there were no specific cases which could be investigated in an objective way. We have noticed that trend. We are guided by the rules of engagement and human rights in all our actions,” Agim stated, noting that there standing court martial on ground to deal with cases of human rights abuses by the men and officers.
“When there is an operation going on, the military puts some things in place to check anybody who misbehaves. For example in the North -East, there is a court martial that is trying anybody who misbehaves.
“While I was in Maiduguri and I saw some of the cases that had been decided by a court martial there. A soldier who shot and killed five rescued civilians without any just cause was tried and sentenced to death. If anybody does anything that is against the law, report that person”.
Agim disclosed that on a recent trip with journalists to the North-East to investigate the allegations of abuses levelled against soldiers, there was no corroborative evidence from internally displaced persons and other non-governmental organisations there.
Agim invited Nigerians to co-operate with the military and other security agencies so as to checkmate those who did not wish the country well, adding that media practitioners should be cautious not to oxygenate terrorism by giving undue publicity to such activities.
“Let no one make the mistake. The terrorists are not fighting the military. Yes, the military may be the ones at the frontline but we should all know that the terrorists are actually fighting Nigeria as a nation.”
He also expressed concern over the porous borders that allowed for the free flow of immigrants adding: “We have those people that come into the country. The Immigration complained of the porous borders and all that. Go to Chad and Niger, there is somebody who monitors you and you will know that you are being monitored. Only here, nobody talks to you. You are free to do anything you need to do, may be because of the size of the country or something.
“There is limitation to what the military can do. The military can only take care of the issue of security like we are talking about. We cannot go and start saying so and so person, where is he coming from? The poor borders are actually causing a lot of problem”.