The prominent civil rights advocacy group-: HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has warned against the politicization of the ongoing counter terror war just as the rights group has stated that spreading mischief and damaging propaganda against the Nigerian Army and the Army Chief serves no body any good .
HURIWA said the institution of the Nigerian Army is a national pride and does not belong to anyone or region making it imperative that we should not be identified with agents and saboteurs working hard to destabilise the Nigerian Army through the spreading of cocktails of fabricated stories and damaging innuendos aimed at rubbishing the public standing of the institution of the Nigerian military.
In that note , the Rights group has faulted the toxic insinuation going round that the recent voluntary disengagement of over 300 military operatives signposted low morale and lack of motivation to wage war against terrorists .
HURIWA stated that the sinister insinuation is farther from the truth since in every occupation of humanity there is constant mobility of labour and practitioners migrate from one career to the other based on personal choices which may not necessarily and always be negative or does it always signpost the weakness of the institution from which such a person has decided to move away from to try his / her hand on other things just as the Rights group said the only Constant development in human history and life is CHANGE.
“It is dangerous and indeed disingenuous politics for politicians or propagandists who hate the chief of Army Staff Lt-Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai maybe for some self centred reasons to go to town spreading the poisonous perception that the recent mass disengagement of some operatives means that there is shortage of morale in the current counter insurgency war.
If we may ask, when doctors such as Chris Ngige, Ifeanyi Okowa , Cairo ojiagboh decided to cross over into active politics, does that mean that the practice of medicine has collapsed? Does it mean that if a doctor migrates to Journalism due to personal choices and interests that the medical practice has become uninteresting and lacks any utilitarian value?
If as it were, journalists or religious clerics decide to move over to other Fields of human endeavours, does that symbolize the end of media practice or the end of religion ? This dangerous politics we play in Nigeria with virtually every thing including our national Security is harmful to our collective well being and should be checked. The Nigerian Army has been there probably before most of us were created by God and the Nigerian Army will remain strong long after we are gone and our Children take over the affairs of Nigeria. Why do we have to destroy the institution of the Nigerian Army by spreading false information and wrongful insinuations as if we don’t want the coming generations to inherit the Army and other enduring institutions to be able to live peaceful and prosperous life. Can we please make personal and collective resolution to stop sabotaging the Nigerian Army for the sake of our Children”.
HURIWA said in a statement by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf that: ” It is poisonous media practice to paint the news of the disengagement of some soldiers to mean that something is wrong with the Army. Some sections of the media interpreted it to mean that in an unprecedented move and sign of protest against the continued killing of their colleagues, over 386 Soldiers of the Nigerian Army have volunteered to disengage from service indefinitely.
This section of the media also insinuated that “many have either deserted, abandoned their positions, on AWOL or about to also disengage if nothing is done quickly to arrest the downward spiral of morale. This the media chose to interpret to mean that it is owing to the fact that most of the soldiers felt betrayed and uncertain about the strategic direction of Nigeria’s Counter-terrorism and Counter-insurgency Operations against Boko Haram terrorists and Islamic State in West Africa Province
HURIWA quoting media reports, recalled that the mass disengagement of the soldiers was acknowledged in a Nigerian Army Circular dated July 8, 2020 and signed by Brig-Gen. TE Gagariga on behalf of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai, with subject: ‘Approval for voluntary/medical discharge soldiers: First and Second Quarters 2020 79NA/ MWO OA and 385 others’.
The 386 soldiers are to proceed on terminal leave by December 03, 2020 while their official disengagement from Service takes effect on January 03, 2020.
Gagariga in the circular stated that Buratai in compliance with the provision of the Harmonised Terms and Conditions of Service (Revised) 2017, “has approved the voluntary/medical retirement of the above named MWO and 385 others”. Their names were listed in listed in Annexes A and B sighted by Global Sentinel.
The circular read: “The soldiers are to proceed on terminal leave WEF 3 Dec 20 while their disengagement date takes effect 3 Jan 21 in accordance with the NA Administrative Policy and Procedures No 27 paragraph 3 and 4
“Accordingly, I am directed to request formations and units to release all affected soldiers to report at HQ CAR with their unit service documents for documentation NLT 1 October 20 to ensure that:
All forms of military controlled items, arms, ammunition and items of combat kits are recovered from the soldiers prior to their disengagement date and certify that they are properly de-kitted.”
HURIWA said there was no need to continue to antagonize the Nigerian Army just as the Rights group said the Nigerian Army has come of age and needed our collective support and goodwill. The Rights group has also tasked the media office of the Nigerian Army and the Defence headquarters to be much more professionally forthcoming with information and to partner with media practitioners because the media of mass communication is critical to winning the war on terror in real time.