The General Officer Commanding (GOC), 1 Mechanised Division, Nigerian Army, Kaduna, Major-General Adeniyi Oyebade, has bluntly said that the military had no apology to members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria – the Shiites.
He stated this in reaction to the bloody clash between the group and soldiers in Zaria Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
Briefing journalists on Wednesday on the 2015 activities of the Command, Oyebade said the army was not repentant for its action “because the sect formed a parallel government within a constituted authority”.
He remarked that the military had no issue with the Islamic sect, pointing out that even some military personnel were Shiites by faith, but they respected and obeyed constituted authority.
He announced that as the fight against terror intensified, over 21 Boko Haram suspects had been arrested just as over 200 camps belonging to the insurgents and armed bandits were discovered and destroyed across the north-east during the period under review.
He displayed assorted weapons – including locally-made ammunitions that were recovered, during the period, from the bandits, particularly in Kaduna.
He said from all indications, the ravaged north-east was no longer safe for Boko Haram and other criminals in the zone and called on the people to report any suspicious movement to security agencies for prompt action.
According to him, “the army has paid heavily with the blood of its officers and men to protect this country, and, so, we have no apology to any group, either Shiites Islamic sect, Christian sect, even pagan sect that is threatening the peace of this country.
“We don’t have any issue with the Shiites or any sect at all in the land, as long as they obey the law of the land. But if any group tends to challenge the constituted authority of the land, it means that such group does not respect the constitution of the land.
“Even in the military, we have Shiites members, but there is no issue with them because they are law abiding citizens but we have issues with those who create a state within a state, and our rules of engagement is very clear, that is, when there is threat to a constituted authority, it must be arrested before it goes out of control.
“We know the business of violence but we apply it professionally if the peace of the land is being threatened. So we are appealing to Nigerians who are bent on causing violence to stay off”.