Group warns against smear campaigns targeted at Buratai, other patriots that served Nigeria

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Some shadowy international groups plan to launch a smear campaign to assassinate the character of the immediate past Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai (rtd). 

This revelation was made by the civil society group, Nigeria First, at a press conference on Thursday in Abuja wherein it dismissed the alleged killing of Igbos by the Nigerian Army under Buratai’s watch. 

According to its Secretary-General, 
Richard Augustine Adie, these groups have been mobilized to cast aspersion on the character of the immediate past Chief of Army Staff by calling his stewardship into question. 

Augustine Adie noted that the despicable elements would go any length to destroy the Nigerian Army by publishing baseless, fictitious and unsubstantiated reports using ethnicity and religion to break its ranks. 

He added that the overarching objective is to discredit all the notable achievements of Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai while in office in the puerile attempt at instigating the general public against the Nigerian Army as an institution of repute. 

According to Adie, those behind these claims are doing everything possible to discourage the new service chiefs from delivering on the mandate that Mr President. 

The Nigeria First, therefore, condemned this act of sabotage in the strongest terms, warning those fanning the drums of religious and ethnic war in the country to desist from such for peace and tranquillity. 

The group said that the years of the Tukur Buratai leadership as COAS of the Nigerian Army would go down in history as one of the most challenging chapters in Nigeria’s book. 

Nigeria First, however, urged all well-meaning Nigerians must rise to the occasion by speaking in one voice in this critical point of our existence.

Read the full statement below:

I welcome you all to this press conference by Nigeria First, an organization devoted to the entrenchment and preservation of governance in Nigeria is calling this press conference in light of the plot by some shadowy groups hiding under the nomenclature of civil society groups to ferment trouble in Nigeria. 

We have credible information on how these groups have been mobilized to cast aspersion on the character of the immediate past Chief of Army Staff by calling to question his stewardship of the Nigerian Army. 

We wish to inform the generality of Nigerians that indeed the plot is real and enormous resources have been earmarked to discredit the personality of the immediate past Chief of Army Staff and call to question his stewardship of the Nigerian Army while he held sway. 

Consequently, we may wish to recall that the public space has been inundated with outright falsehood in recent times through press statements, press conferences opinion articles, and news stories discrediting the immediate past Chief of Army Staff.   

The overarching objective is to discredit all the notable achievements of Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai while in office in the puerile attempt at instigating the general public against the Nigerian Army as an institution of repute. 

Nigeria First as an organization is indeed aware that these despicable elements would go any length to destroy the Nigerian Army by publishing baseless, fictitious and unsubstantiated reports using ethnicity and religion to break the ranks of the Nigerian Army in an attempt to destroy the Nigerian Army as an institution. 

One of such instances is the recent diatribe alleging the immediate past Chief of Army Staff, indeed ordered for the killing of Igbos by troops of the Nigerian Army. This outright falsehood indeed must not be allowed to stand because of the consequences it might have on the overall psyche of the Nigerian populace. 

The assumption that some Igbos were executed on the instructions of the immediate past Chief of Army Staff remains a figment of the imagination as the institutional frameworks introduced by Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai in the Nigerian Army does not give room for religious or ethnic sentiments. 

This is indeed the culmination of attempts by some enemies of Nigeria hiding under the auspices of an international coalition who would go to any length to destroy the Nigerian Army as an institution of repute.  

It is instructive to state that the people behind these claims are doing everything possible to discourage the new service chiefs from delivering on the mandate that Mr President and the Constitution has empowered them to fight the various security challenges facing the country.

Nigeria First condemns this act of sabotage in the strongest terms and wishes to sound a note of warning to those fanning the drums of religious and ethnic war in the country to desist from such ignoble endeavours in the interest of peace and tranquillity and the continued existence of Nigeria as a country.   

The attempt to denigrate those who have devoted their energy and time to the service of this nation is therefore viewed as very unacceptable and will not be tolerated by well-meaning Nigerians. 

This is on the heels that the records of Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai as the Chief of Army Staff are indeed replete with acts of devotion, dedication and patriotism to the Nigerian cause. Therefore it should be on record that this is an attempt at character assassination aimed at rubbishing the years of sacrifices by Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai in leading the Nigerian Army towards preserving the sovereignty of Nigeria.   

Nigeria First as an organization indeed bears witness to the noble and outstanding efforts of Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai in addressing the security challenges in the country and all through the years, Nigeria First indeed scrutinized the operations of the Nigerian Army with regards to human rights compliance, respect for the rule of law and conformity to the rules of engagement in warfare. 

If this is the case, we consequently wonder why the smear campaign against Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, if not for mischief purposes, remains despicable and condemnable.  Nigerians and the rest of the world are as a result of this urged to resist any attempt to infiltrate the Nigerian Army through the deployment of smear campaigns.

We unequivocally ask that those trying to drag the immediate past Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Tukur Buratai in the mud should have a rethink. It would be tantamount to lack of appreciation for his efforts that saw to Nigeria recording tangible gains in the war against Boko Haram insurgency and other militancy acts across the country. 

We are also using this medium to state that the years of the Tukur Buratai leadership of the Nigerian Army would go down in history as one of the most challenging chapters in Nigeria’s book. 

Nigeria First frowns at such anomaly hence the convocation of this press conference to put the records straight in fairness to the immediate past Chief of Army Staff.  

Nigerians must see this campaign as an affront to our sensibilities as a people and as a country and must do all to resist the harbingers of violence and apostles of disintegration who are bent on inciting violence in the country. 

The peculiarity of the time requires that well-meaning Nigerians must rise to the occasion by speaking in one voice in this critical point of our existence. We must say no to promoting ethnic and religious sentiments in the country, for neither North, East, South nor West, but one Nigeria. 

We thank you all for your time and belief in the unity of strength and purpose of Nigeria. 

God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.