The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant-General Tukur Buratai, has urged troops not to be distracted by the move by International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate war crimes against Nigerian forces in the north eastern part of the country.
Buratai made the call in a statement by the Acting Director, Army Public Relations, Brigadier-General Sagir Musa, on Saturday in Abuja.
He said the call followed the Friday statement from ICC prosecutor, alleging that there were reasonable basis to believe that “members of the Nigerian Security Forces (NSF)” had committed acts constituting crimes against humanity and war crimes.
According to him, the ICC statement is immediately followed by a release by the local branch of Amnesty International (AI) in Nigeria, demanding full investigation of atrocities by Nigerian forces.
Buratai said there was no doubt that such statement and instigation could distract the Nigerian troops with its demoralising effects.
He said it could have negative consequences on troops morale, interest in military service by Nigerians and severe setback to all Nigeria’s internal security operations.
The COAS also enjoined troops to ignore what he described as “wicked and unnecessary distractions”, directing them to fully concentrate on the final defeat of Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists groups which is in sight.
He also charged the troops to work hard and be guided by the constitution of Nigeria, the Rules of Engagement, the Code of Conduct and the Standing Operating Procedures for all Nigerian Army Operations.
According to him, 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 destabilise or destroy the troops’ morale by the sponsors of mischief in Nigeria”.
Army spokesperson, Musa, disclosed that Buratai was currently on self-isolation as part of precaution against the COVID-19 infection.
Musa said the COAS would soon join the troops in the north-eastern part of the country at the end of the mandatory isolation period to continue giving them the desired leadership and support.