Director of Defence Information, Major General Chris Olukolade on Wednesday insisted that allegations of human rights abuses being levied against troops combating terrorism in the North Eastern parts of the country were false and baseless.
“The position of the Nigerian armed forces and security agencies is guided by rules of engagement which we will continue to abide by. Accusations of human rights abuse will be investigated whenever it is believed to have occurred.
“However, I must call your attention to the fact that this has become a stock in trade of organisations that have doubt about our ability to maintain integrity in our operations but be sure that this remains a professional force. We are conducting our activities in the most professional manner and we will stand by it. Please note that the obligation we have is to investigate it and when such allegations come, we do investigate them”, Olukolade said during the thrice weekly briefing by the National information Centre (NIC).
Olukolade who disclosed that some troops lost their lives in the bomb explosion at a market in Maiduguri on Tuesday insisted that members of the Nigerian military and other security agencies would continue to defend the nation even at the point of death.
He denied insinuations that residents at the scene of the Maiduguri blast attacked the military and fire fighters saying “we just know that our men did their job on that spot. In fact we lost soldiers in the course of that incidence but be sure that the military and other security agencies will continue to do their duty and I don’t have a report of anybody being denied the right to execute their mandate as a security agent in that area.”
Coordinator of NIC, Mr. Mike Omeri had earlier clarified the report about the explosion which occurred in Ile Ife, Osun State on Tuesday.
Omeri said “there was a report of a non lethal explosion from an object which was investigated by security agencies at Agbedegbede Street, Ile-Ife, Osun state. The outcome of the investigation indicates that the explosion was neither a bomb nor dynamite, but carbide as neither the ground where the explosion occurred nor the building within the vicinity were affected by the explosion, just as no human life was lost neither was plantain shrubs near it destroyed.
While condemning the Maiduguri bombing and the perpetrators, the Director General of National Orientation Agency (NOA) commended the prompt action of security forces that rapidly secured the area in an effort to prevent further attacks on onlookers, particularly, the Fire Service that displayed heroism by putting out the fire caused by the explosion thereby preventing it from spreading into the market.
“Furthermore, Nigeria’s security forces have continued to make significant progress with active presence on the ground to combat the highly challenging and complex terrorist threat that currently exists as well as ensuring long term safety and security of the people and the nation”, Omeri declared.