By Lateef Ibrahim Abuja
From the Defence headquarters came, weekend, a declaration that the military will not tolerate any form of indiscipline among its men and officers, with an advice to Nigerians to report any errant soldier(s) to the relevant authorities.
This is even as the military high command confirmed that there is currently no local government, in any part of the country, under the control of the Boko Haram insurgents.
The Acting Director of Defence Information, DDI, Brig. Gen. John Agim, who stated these during a chat with some journalists in Abuja on Friday, said the military had procedures for disciplining any of its errant members
Agim, while faulting the report by the Amnesty International on the activities of the military in the North-East, points out that the military has its internal mechanism for disciplining any soldier who misbehaved during an operation.
According to him, “When there is an operation going on, the military puts some things in place to check anybody who misbehaves. For example in the North -East, there is a court martial that is trying anybody (officer or soldier) who misbehaves.
“There is no way we will have a military such as ours and you will not see one person misbehaving. While I was in Maiduguri, I saw some of the cases that had been decided by court martial there.
“A soldier who shot and killed five rescued civilians without any just cause was tried and sentenced to death. If anybody does anything that is against the law, report that person”, he said.
The acting DDI disclosed that currently, there is no local government under the control of the Boko Haram insurgents.
He, however, noted that Sambisa Forest was a vast area, adding that it was 10 times the size of Lagos State.
Agim, who holds a PhD degree in Mass Communication, observed that because of the porosity of the Nigerian borders, insurgents made their way into the country without much difficulty.
The acting DDI said, “We have those people that come into the country.
The Immigration complained of the poor borders and all that. People come in and go out and our country is something different. When people are here, nobody even cares to check anybody.
“ In Nigeria, people will do things they want to do freely in our country and nobody checks them, nobody says anything. Go to Chad and Niger, there is somebody who monitors you and you will know that you are being monitored. Only here, nobody talks to you. You are free to do anything you need to do, may be because of the size of the country or something.
“There is limitation to what the military can do. The military can only take care of the issue of security like we are talking about. We can not go and start saying so, so and so person, where is he coming from?
“The poor borders are actually causing a lot of problem. And the proliferation of the arms from Libya and Mali has caused a lot of problem. In addition to what the people are capable of buying by themselves. It surprises us that the kind of weapons these people are having, we need to queue and take permission from different countries to buy them into our own country. That is something that should worry all of us. They don’t run short of arms. They don’t have problem of arms.
“The military is operating in the North East. We have continued to rescue people. As we rescue people, we profile them to know if any of them is among these Chibok girls
While giving explanation on the process of deradicalizing insurgents, who had sundered, Agim said that through a programme, “Operation Safe Corridor”, the military trained such people in Bauchi.
He therefore solicited for the cooperation of the media in the country, stressing that publicity fuelled terrorism.
According to him, “The only way you can check them is to reduce the way you talk about their activities,
He said that the military would continue to ensure that its members were of good behaviour.
It will be recalled that the Amnesty International, had last month, accused the troops fighting Boko Haram in the North-East of right abuses.
However, the Presidency and the military had described the report of Amnesty International as lacking credibility.