By Adeola Oladele
The Defence Headquarters has criticised the Amnesty International over its claim in respect of the counter terrorism operations of the Nigerian army in the North-east where it is battling insurgency.
Director Defence Information, Major-General Chris Olubolade, said the claim is ‘inaccurate and unfair’
He said: “Being an area of operation where terrorists are known to be ever looking for the slightest opportunity to attack and perpetrate heinous atrocities, Nigerian troops are conversant with the need to maintain the highest form of alertness always.
“Every available information is factored into the intelligence that drives every engagement or encounter in any part of the mission area. This standard has not only been sustained but has been incrementally enhanced in terms of capacity, troop’s deployment, coordination, troop’s mobility and protection as well as logistics.
“Regular patrols, surveillance, pursuit and actual combat engagement to curtail or forestall terrorists’ activities and threats are also conducted. This has substantially succeeded in preventing, frustrating or minimising the effect of terrorists’ dastardly intentions and actions. This also accounts for why the main intention of terrorists attack on Maiduguri and other places could not succeed.
“The effort of Amnesty International to use these unfortunate activities of terrorists to find fault with the counter terrorism operations as usual, is inaccurate and unfair.
“In actual fact, the protection of civilian population is the essence the entire counter terrorism operation. It therefore remains the priority in all the indeed, the troops were prepared and duly engaged the terrorists in all the instances referred to by Amnesty International.
“The misleading conclusions by Amnesty International could have been avoided if they had made meaningful efforts to verify the inciting allegations. Whatever be the intention, the allegations, at best can only constitute a distractive and misleading commentary or interpretation of the terrorists’ activities, the efforts to curb them and the actual situation on the ground in Nigeria.
“The Nigerian security forces remain willing and capable of discharging the responsibility of defending the country’s territory and people.
“Every intrigue aimed at undermining the nation’s capacity to handle its security challenges will surely fail”.