Olayemi Esan, Abuja
The Nigerian Army says, the Army is a national institution and does not deploy its troops along ethnic or religious lines.
Director Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Mohammed Yerima disclosed this in a statement on Monday to canter a viral video-cilp showing an Islamic scholar, Sheikh Ahmed Gumi alleging that non-Muslim soldiers were responsible for the attacks against bandits.
Yerima said, in the video clip, the islamic scholar was seen telling the bandits that the soldiers involved in most attacks against them were non-Muslims.
He further stated that they should be aware that soldiers are divided into Muslims and non- Muslims.
Army Spokesperson said, "While the Nigerian Army would not want to join issues with the the respected Sheik Ahmed Gumi, it is however important to restate that 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" , Yerima said.
Army spokesman therefore enjoined Sheikh Ahmed Gumi and other opinion merchants to exercise restraint not to drag the image and reputation of one of the most reliable national institutions to disrepute.
Yerima stressed that, 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" he said.
The Nigerian Army also advise opinion leaders to be more courteous while expressing their views , taking into cognisance the imperative for national security, particularly at this difficult times when gallant troops have redoubled their efforts to tackle the myriads of security challenges facing our dear nation.
"What our troops need now is public support to discharge their responsibility effectively and in the most professional manner" Yerima concluded.