Stop attacks on our troops – Group warns

Ayudantes Empowerment Initiative (AEI), a civil society advocacy group, has called on Nigerians to stop deliberate attacks on and killing of military personnel.

The Executive Director of AEI, Mr Amechi Oyema, made the call at news conference on Thursday in Abuja.

Oyema extended condolences to the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Chris Musa, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja and families of the personnel who had in recent time, paid the supreme price while defending the nation.

He said that the group had strongly condemned what he described as gradually becoming a norm, noting that attacks on members of the armed forces by citizens must stop.

According to him, it has been going on, but it is time Nigerians speak out against this barbaric attitude of some of our citizens towards members of the armed forces.

‘Just recently, a commanding officer, two majors, a captain and 13 others, were ambushed and murdered on March 14 while responding to the crisis between Okoloba and Okuama communities which
had allegedly been engaged in an aged-long land dispute.

‘On May 18, there was a mob attack on personnel of the military at Banex Plaza in Abuja and we saw on national television how soldiers were being manhandled.

‘Just last week, terrorists of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its armed wing, the Eastern Security Network (ESN), in Abia, killed five personnel at Obikabia Junction Checkpoint in Obingwa Local Government Area.

‘Troops of Operation UDO KA were deployed to enforce peace in the area and protect the citizens.

‘Also, on June 4, reports had it that suspected phone snatchers murdered a soldier, identified as Lt. IM Abubakar in the Unguwan Sarki area of Kaduna State.

‘We are here to say today that this is unfortunate, inhuman and undeserving for people that have laid their lives for our country,’ he said.

Oyema said it was wrong for citizens to continue to engage in demoralising activities, especially against troops that had been making sacrifices for the peace and stability of the coun

He quoted Maya Angelou as saying, ‘How important it is for us to recognise and celebrate our heroes and she-roes’.

He also quoted Gen. George S. Patton (Jr.), as saying, ‘The soldier is the army. No army is better than its soldiers. The soldier is also a citizen.

‘In fact, the highest obligation and privilege of citizenship is that of bearing arms for one’s country,’ he said.

Oyema commended the nation’s military for showing restraint in the face of blatant provocations by not embarking on reprisal in the senseless killings of its personnel in different parts of the country.

‘We, however, call on the military authority to go to whatever length possible within the ambit of the law to ensure that those who committed these heinous crimes do not go unpunished.

‘Nigerians must learn to respect and honour men and women in uniform especially military personnel.

‘This because there is no higher honour than serving in the military.

‘These are men and women that sacrifice their lives in defence of our terr
itorial integrity. An attack on them is an attack on Nigeria,’ he added.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria