#EndSARS crisis was a deliberate ploy to discredit the Army, COAS Buratai

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“…any act of arson or attempt to kill or maim any military or security personnel and other law-abiding civilians must be responded to quickly and decisively” ll No less than 10 AK-47 rifles have been lost to hoodlums ll Charges his men not to be afraid of International Criminal Court (ICC)

The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, on Monday, alleged that the organisers of the #EndSARS protest deliberately orchestrated a crisis so as to draw the Nigerian Army into the fray and discredit its reputation.

Addressing Principal Staff Officers (PSOs), General Officers Commanding (GOCs), and Field Commanders (FCs) at a meeting held at the Nigerian Army headquarters, Abuja on Monday, the COAS made it clear to his men that there must be no room for disloyalty amongst all officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army.

He said the PSOs, GOCs, and Field Commanders must reiterate to all their subordinates that the NA was determined to ensure democratic stability in the country as the only panacea for development and progress.

According to a statement read by the Army spokesman, Col. Sagir Musa, on behalf of the COAS, Buratai charged the commanders to warn their troops on internal security or guard duties outside the barracks to be at “maximum alert at all times and to also deal decisively with any attack on their duty locations.”

Buratai said, “The recent activities by unscrupulous elements have shown their desire to acquire arms and ammunition at all cost from security personnel. No less than 10 AK-47 rifles have been lost to these miscreants in the past two weeks across the country with attendant loss of lives of personnel.”

Buratai reiterate the Army’s determination to prevent agents of destabilisation from achieving their goals.

“We will not allow any force, elements, or destabilising agents in or outside our country to set our beloved country on fire. We remain resolute in doing everything possible to ensure that subversive elements, detractors, and other enemies of this great nation do not achieve their aims and objectives of destabilisation,” the army chief was quoted to have stated during the meeting.

The COAS drew the attention of the participants to the #EndSARS protests which he said resulted in widespread violence and wanton destruction of property, noting that the army was aware from the outset the plan by the organisers to orchestrate a crisis and discredit the NA.

He stated, “The plan was to embark on massive propaganda to discredit the military and the government to set the people against the NA once it is called out to aid the civil authorities.

“The NA being aware of the devilish plan was careful not to be dragged in and issued the initial warning through a press release on 14 October 2020 of our resolve to secure and safeguard a united Nigeria.”

“Now the detractors alongside their local and international collaborators have mischievously and deliberately misrepresented troops’ efforts to ensure compliance with the curfew imposed by legitimate civil authorities in Lagos and other states,” the military chief further alleged.

He accused unnamed individuals and groups of falsely accusing the NA of being responsible for the activities of the miscreants “despite glaring evidence to the contrary.”

“They have continually threatened to report the NA to the International Criminal Court and also threatened various forms of sanctions against personnel and their families.

“Thankfully, however,  a large percentage of Nigerians and the international community have started seeing through the smokescreen of falsehood and deliberate misrepresentation of facts being orchestrated by enemies of Nigeria and have retracted their earlier false publications,” he added.

Tasking his men on their responsibility, Buratai admonished that none of the PSOs, GOCs, Field Commanders and other officers and soldiers of the NA should be afraid of the ICC for carrying out their legitimate duties as stated in the Constitution and other extant laws, rules, and regulations.

He further averred that the commanders have every right under the Constitution to carry out assigned and legitimate roles of maintaining law and order in aid of civil authorities and other security agencies.

The statement said, “He (COAS) charged them to show the detractors and other elements of destabilization that they are neither part of them nor in any way supportive of their activities at all times. He directed that any act of arson or attempt to kill or maim any military or security personnel and other law-abiding civilians must be responded to quickly and decisively.”

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