The Nigerian Army has cautioned Islamic scholar, Sheikh Ahmed Gumi, against making divisive and disparaging utterances against the military institutions.
It stated that the army did not deploy its troops along ethnic or religious lines as stated by the cleric during his interaction with bandits.
The army spokesman, Brig. Gen. Mohammed Yerima, mentioned this in a statement in reaction to a video in which Gumi accused non-Muslim soldiers of attacking the bandits.
In the clip, the Islamic scholar was seen telling the bandits that soldiers are divided into Muslims and non-Muslims.
But Yerima in his statement on Monday titled, ‘Nigerian Army does not deploy its troops along ethnic or religious lines,’ admonished the cleric and other “opinion merchants” to exercise restraint and not drag the image and reputation of “one of the most reliable national institutions to disrepute.”
It stated, “While the Nigerian Army would not want to join issues with the respected Sheik Ahmed Gumi, it is important to restate that the Nigerian Army as a national institution does not deploy its troops along ethnic or religious lines.
“Therefore, Sheikh Ahmed Gumi and other opinion merchants are pleased enjoined to exercise restraint not to drag the image and reputation of one of the most reliable national institutions to disrepute.
“The Nigerian Army remains the pride of the nation and has continually defended the territorial integrity of this great nation. Comments suggesting mudslinging the image and reputation of the Nigerian Army are not only inimical but tended towards creating bad blood amongst Nigerians.”
Yerima said most operations conducted by the Nigerian Army were done in strict adherence to rules of engagement, code of conduct and respect for fundamental human rights. Yerima advised opinion leaders to be more courteous while expressing their views, taking into cognisance the imperatives of national security, “particularly at this difficult times when our gallant troops have redoubled their efforts to tackle the myriads of security challenges facing our dear nation.”