The Nigerian Army has cautioned popular Islamic scholar, Sheikh Ahmed Gumi to stop portraying the institution in bad light.
Gumi had said in a video clip that the deployment of troops along ethnic, religious lines, particularly the non-Muslim soldiers were responsible for the attacks against bandits,
But, Brigadier-General Director Army Public Relations, Mohammed Yerima in a statement on Monday, dismissed Gumi’s claims, describing the Army as national institution does not deploy its troops along ethnic or religious lines.
It therefore urged Sheikh Gumi and other opinion merchants are please enjoined to exercise restraint not to drag the image and reputation of one of the most reliable national institutions to disrepute.
Yerima, reiterated the need for opinion leaders to be more courteous while expressing their views, taking into cognisance the imperative for 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.
The Army said in the statement titled: “Nigerian Army does not deploy its troops along ethnic or religious lines”, stressed that “What our troops need now is public support to discharge their responsibility effectively and in the most professional manner.
“While the Nigerian Army would not want to join issues with the the respected Sheik Ahmed Gumi, it is however important to restate that the Nigerian Army as national institution does not deploy its troops along ethnic or religious lines.
“Therefore Sheikh Ahmed Gumi and other opinion merchants are please 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 to mudslide the image and reputation of the Nigerian Army are not only inimical but tended towards creating bad blood amongst Nigerians.
“Furthermore, most operations conducted by the Nigerian Army were done in strict adherence to rules of engagement, code of conduct and respect for the fundamental human rights of the citizenry without any exception. It is therefore, disturbing that an opinion leader would deliberately want to disparage the Nigeria Army to portray it in bad light”, Yerima said in the statement.