From Molly Kilete, Abuja
The Nigerian Army has denied claims that it is enlisting ‘repentant terrorists’ from Boko Haram and Islamic States of West African Province (ISWAP) into the service.
The army said it does not have any ‘repentant terrorists’ joining its ranks as there are teaming able-bodied Nigerians that are willing to join the service and genuinely help in the fight against terrorism and other violent crimes.
The clarification comes as the army condemned a video by one “Young Elder” attributing the collapse of the Afghan military to the recruitment of the Taliban into its fold, and likening it to the ongoing surrender by the Boko Haram/Islamic State West Africa Province Terrorists in Nigeria.
The Director, Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu, said the Nigerian Army would not engage the services of former terrorists, saying it is a general rule world over not to absorb former fighters into the services of a regular military.
Nwachukwu, noting that the situation in Afghanistan calls for concern by any ‘right-thinking person or organisation’, said the manner in which “Young Elder” presented it shows his lack of basic knowledge on the subject he hurriedly delved into.
The army spokesman, in a statement issued late Tuesday night in Abuja, states:
‘Our attention has been drawn to an online video making rounds in the social media by one Young Elder and produced by Anthony Jay. In the video, the so-called Young Elder attempted to draw conclusions from the collapse of the Afghan military and trying very hard to relate it to the ongoing surrender by the Boko Haram/ Islamic State West Africa Province Terrorists in Nigeria. The Young Elder in a comic way tried to express worries about the surrendered terrorists.
‘While it is understood that the situation in Afghanistan calls for concerns by any right-thinking person or organisation, the manner in which the comic Young Elder presented it shows his lack of basic knowledge on the subject he hurriedly delved into. The amateurish production conjured some unfounded and baseless claims that only exist in the figment of their imagination, claiming that surrendered terrorists were going to be absorbed into the Nigerian Army (NA).
‘For the avoidance of doubt, the NA does not have any repentant terrorists joining its ranks and does not have any plan for that. There are teaming able-bodied Nigerians that are willing to join the NA and genuinely help in the fight against terrorism and other violent crimes. The NA, therefore, is not desperate for prospective recruits to stoop so low and engage the services of former terrorists. As a general rule, it is not even recommended to absorb former fighters into the services of a regular military.
‘The NA wish to state that the campaign of falsehood embarked upon by some individuals who do not wish the nation well cannot distract its personnel from their resolve to bring an end to the violent crimes in the country. We wish to reiterate that the NA under the leadership of the Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Faruk Yahaya will continue to operate within the dictates of the law. Surrendered terrorists will be received, processed and passed to the appropriate government agencies that are saddled with the responsibility of handling them.
‘While we recommend that matters related to security be left with those who have the requisite expertise and experience, we wish to remind comic characters like Young Elder to focus on contributing towards nation-building and not engaging in campaigns of falsehood.’
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