According to a report by SaharaReporters, the Nigerian Army on Wednesday denied that military personnel were aiding kidnappers in the South-East region
The Prelate of Methodist Church Nigeria, His Eminence Samuel Uche had while narrating his near-death experience at the hands of kidnappers alleged that some soldiers from the North were working with the kidnappers in the region.
The Army said it "would take this weighty allegation seriously and approach the Prelate and the Methodist church to unravel the basis for the allegation"
SaharaReporters had reported that the Prelate, his chaplain, Very Rev. Abidemi Shittu, and the Bishop of Owerri, Rt. Rev. Dennis Mark were abducted on Sunday along the Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway in the Umunneochi Local Government Area of Abia State.
But in a swift reaction, the Director of Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu, said troops' deployment in the Nigerian Army is not done with considerations for ethnic affiliation.
He said, “The Nigerian Army (NA) has been notified of the insinuation making the rounds on social media, alleging complicity of troops of the Nigerian Army in the kidnap incident of the Methodist Prelate in Abia state recently.
“While the Nigerian Army expresses concern and sympathy for the victim of this heinous crime and shares in his pains, the insinuation that troops are complicit in the kidnap incident is not entirely premised on any findings of investigations and therefore cannot be swallowed hook line and sinker. This allegation, therefore, raises some pertinent questions which are still unanswered.
“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.
“Moreso, 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 the 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.
“Given our professional disposition and zero tolerance for any misconduct in the Nigerian Army, we will take this weighty allegation seriously and approach the Prelate and the Methodist church to unravel the basis for the allegation.”