Buratai to troops: Don’t let ICC, AI claims demoralize you

By Chimezie Godfrey

The Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai has urged the troops fighting Boko Haram and Islamic State for West Africa Province (ISWAP) not to be demoralized by what he described as  false allegations by the International Criminal Ctourt (ICC) and Amnesty International (AI).

In a statement issued by the Acting Director, Army Public Relations, Brig. Gen. Sagir Musa, the COAS said the allegations from the ICC and AI could negatively affect the morale of the troops.

Buratai disclosed that the Nigerian Army’s attention has been drawn to a Press Release by the Prosecutor General of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Friday 12 December 2020, alleging that she has found a reasonable basis to believe that “members of the Nigerian Security Forces (“NSF”)” have committed acts constituting crimes against humanity and war crimes.

He said,”This was immediately followed by a release by the local branch of Amnesty International (AI) in Nigeria “demanding full investigation of atrocities by Nigerian forces.”

“There is no doubt such statement and instigation can distract the Nigerian Army troops with its demoralising effects.

“It will have negative consequences on troops morale, interest in military service by Nigerians and severe setback to all our internal security operations in the country.

“However, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General TY Buratai, enjoins Nigerian Army troops to ignore the distractions and called on the gallant troops never to be worried or demoralized by these moves.”

Buratai who is currently in self-isolation as part of precaution against the COVID-19, said he would soon be joining the gallant troops in the North East at the end of the mandatory isolation period to continue giving the desired leadership and support to the gallant and patriotic troops of the Nigerian Army.

He urged the troops to fight on to secure the country and the citizens, while equally enjoining them to ignore the wicked, unnecessary distractions.

Buratai also directed the troops to fully concentrate on the final defeat of Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists group which is in sight.

He further charged the troops to work hard and be guided by the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the rules of engagement, the code of conduct and the standing operating procedures for all Nigerian Army Operations.

The COAS reiterated that the Nigerian Army is not only protecting human rights but also sustaining human rights nationally and globally.

“Our professional conduct over the years and most recently during the #ENDSARS protest at Lekki Village near Lagos are clear testimonies to the Nigerian Army’s posture on promoting sustainable human rights policy.

“The Nigerian Army wishes to advise  local or international organisations not to allow themselves be used to destabilize or destroy the troops’ morale by the sponsors of mischief in Nigeria,” he stressed.