The Nigerian Army (NA) has described as unsubstantiated, social media reports suggesting that its troops were complicit in the kidnap incident of the Methodist Prelate in Abia State recently.
In a statement its Director Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu, the army stated that the allegation raises several pertinent questions which are still unanswered.
While expressing concern and sympathy for the victim of the heinous crime, the army said the insinuations were not entirely premised on any findings of investigations and therefore cannot be swallowed hook line and sinker.
“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 ransom paid to troops? These are questions that beg for answers,” the statement partly read.
General Onyema’s brief further noted that 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,” the army spokesman explained.
He went on to spell out that given the army’s professional disposition and zero tolerance for any misconduct, the military will take the weighty allegation seriously and approach the Prelate and the Methodist church to unravel the basis for the allegation.