The Nigerian Army today urged the public to ignore the “machinations” of a group called the “Save the Nation Movement” (STNM).
In a press statement signed by the Acting Director of Army Public Relations, Colonel Sani Kukasheka Usman, the army described the group as a collection of blackmailers and mischief makers carrying out an orchestrated campaign of calumny in the media aimed at impugning the hard-earned name and reputation of the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai and the Nigerian Army.
It drew attention to a statement on Sunday by one Steven Chilaka, referred to as the group’s “National Secretary,” in which it asked that the Chief of Army Staff be included among those indicted in the ongoing probe of abuse of funds meant for the procurement of arms because he was the Director of Procurement at the Defence Headquarters (DHQ).
The army recalled its earlier warning about this type of campaign of calumny against the Nigerian Army and the Chief of Army Staff.
“Unfortunately, the movement could not get their facts right as has always been the case with people with dubious intents,” it said. “Contrary to their mischief, it should be noted that General Buratai was Director of Procurement at Defence Headquarters from March 2014 to May 2015, not from 2012 to 2015 as they wished to mislead the public.”
Furthermore, the statement pointed out, Defence Procurement in Nigeria is decentralized, and Service is responsible for its procurement.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Chief of Army Staff has never been involved in any questionable act throughout his career as military officer let alone when he was at the DHQ.
“As a matter of fact, the Chief of Army Staff has always been a reference point in exemplary conduct, probity and integrity. It is on record that he voluntarily declared his assets both as Commander MNJTF and as Chief of Army Staff. In addition, he has directed all Nigerian Army officers to do so.”
The statement questioned what STNM’s motive is and why it seems to be in a hurry to rubbish the good name of the Chief Army Staff and the Nigerian Army, given that a Presidential Panel is already working to unravel the facts of the procurement scandal.
Stressing that the Panel should be allowed to discharge its duties dispassionately, the army advised STNM to get its fact right and avoid speculation or wishful thinking.
“They should further understand that whatever mischievous intentions they have against the Chief of Army Staff and indeed, the Nigerian Army, both would not be deterred, we shall remain focused and never to be distracted,” the statement said, advising the public to disregard the group’s machinations “which would surely fall back on them.”