The Chief of Army Staff, (COAS) Lt. General Tukur Buratai on Monday said that the Army followed due process leading to the sacking of over 35 senior military officers last week, describing the action of the authority as timely and appropriate.
“There is no better time than now because everything has been taken into consideration and procedures have been followed to ensure that we don’t pick the innocent ones. You can see it started with the enquiries first of all, then legal review and after the legal review, we forwarded the report and recommendations to the authority for consideration”, General Buratai said.
The Army Chief made the clarification while fielding questions from newsmen during a courtesy call on the Minister of Communications, Mr Adebayo Shittu, in Abuja.
Flanked by top military officers, Gen Buratai said the call on the minister was necessitated by the need for collaboration and partnership with the Ministry for the deployment of Information and Communication Technology, ICT, equipment and facilities to achieve peace in the country.
He also said the military high command is awaiting the outcome of the on-going dialogue between the federal government and other stakeholders on the activities of the Niger Delta Avengers to know the next line of action.
Gen Buratai, however, added that whatever the outcome, the military has the responsibility and duty to maintain peace, law and order in the country.
He said the military authority is not overwhelmed by the sudden upsurge of militant activities in the Niger Delta region in view of their commitments to route-out insurgents in the northeast.
His words: “The Niger Delta issue did not come up yesterday or today, we are already deployed to the Niger/Delta for a very long time. The operations there comprise the armed forces and other security agencies. It entails operations where you have the Army, Navy and Airforce, the Police, Civil Defence and other security agencies, so I don’t think it is overwhelming, it cannot overwhelm the army forces and we are responding appropriately and ensure that things take shape.
“We are instruments of the political class so whatever decision that the government passes out to us, we want to assure you that we are waiting for whatever decision that will come out from their discussion, but our role is very clear we must ensure that the security of that place is attained. As we await the directive of the authority”, Gen Buratai said.
On the sacking of the senior military officers, he said:” why not now, there is no better time than now because everything has been taken into consideration and procedures have been followed to ensure that we don’t pick the innocent ones. You can see it started with the enquiries first of all, legal review and after the legal review, we forwarded the report and recommendations to the authority for consideration.
“So it takes time, it is just like a court process, so we follow our own process, our administrative process and legal review as well. It is the right time and no any other time than now,” Gen Buratai noted, adding that the military high command has also commenced the process of deradicalisation of insurgents and their victims in the northeast of the country.
“The issue of indoctrination. it is one of the programmes that we have. We have a camp in Gombe, which the Defence Headquater is handling, it involves the de-radicalising of the insurgents and their victims especially those who would have been indoctrinated.
“So the process of their de-radicalisation is ongoing and it is a good point that you raised. Please it is not only the government that should be doing this, we appeal to the clergymen , Imams and Pastors to use all those their fora in the Mosque and Churches to preach against this type of indoctrination and ideology that are contrary to the teachings of the holy books. so it is the press responsiblity also to sponsor articles in papers to bring this issue out and point out the dangers of indoctrination.”
Responding to his remarks on areas of collaboration with Military, the Minister of Communications, Mr Adebayo Shittu commended the military high command for putting the insurgents on the run in the northeast of the country.
He said the Ministry was prepared to collaborate with the armed forces to ensure that modern technology and equipment for communications are deployed to achieve peace in the country, noting that without peace no meaningful development can take shape.