Nigerian Army To Question Methodist Prelate After He Accused Soldiers Of Involvement In Kidnap Activities

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The Nigerian Army has reacted to the indictment of its troops by the Methodist Prelate of Nigeria, His Eminence, Samuel Kanu.

The Army in a statement on Wednesday issued by its spokesperson,Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu stated that the claims by the Prelate accusing soldiers of working with Fulani kidnappers can’t be accepted but must be investigated and not just taken at the surface level.

It will be recalled Kanu was  kidnapped by unknown gunmen on Sunday in Abia State. The Bishop of Owerri, Dennis Mark and the Prelate’s chaplain were also abducted by the gunmen.

The abductors later  made a demand of N100 million naira ransom which the prelate confirmed was paid  before his abductors released him.

While narrating his ordeal after his release, the Methodist Prelate also indicted the Nigerian Army based in Lomara as he alleged soldiers were working with the “Fulani kidnappers” that abducted him in Umunneochi, Abia State.

The Army statement by Nwachukwu however said the military command was not officially notified or carried along in any of what transpired starting from the kidnap, to the negotiation of the ransom or the release.

While the statement expressed sympathy with the clergyman over his ordeal, it added that the troops are professionals who don’t get deployed or operate along ethnic lines.

Below is the full Army statement titled ‘ALLEGED COMPLICITY BY SOLDIERS IN BISHOP’S KIDNAP UNSUBSTANTIATED.’

“The Nigerian Army (NA) has been notified of the insinuation making the rounds on social media, alleging complicity of troops of the Nigerian Army in the kidnap incident of the Methodist Prelate in Abia state recently.

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“While the Nigerian Army expresses concern and sympathy for the victim of this heinous crime and shares in his pains, the insinuation that troops are complicit in the kidnap incident is not entirely premised on any findings of investigations and therefore cannot be swallowed hook line and sinker. This allegation, therefore, raises some pertinent questions which are still unanswered.

“Given, the spate of insecurity in the region, the question would be, was the issue reported to the unit covering the area? Did the Methodist Church take the NA into confidence while negotiating the ransom with the kidnappers? No formal complaint has been received by the unit.

“More worrisome is the fact that it was alleged that the ransom was paid in less than 24 hours. Was the ransom paid to troops? These are questions that beg for answers.

“Moreso, the NA unit, has not received any debrief from the Prelate or the Methodist Church.

“It is, therefore, important to state that troops are deployed at Forward Operating Base(FOB) Okigwe and in front of the Abia State University Uturu and no information was made available to them or to 14 Brigade or any other formation, except the information making the rounds in the social media.

“It must be clarified that troops’ deployment in the Nigerian Army is not done with considerations for ethnic affiliation, hence a deployment of troops of Fulani ethnic extraction who as alleged by the Prelate, carried out the dastardly act is not our practice or modus operandi in the NA.

“Given our professional disposition and zero tolerance for any misconduct in the Nigerian Army , we will take this weighty allegation seriously and approach the Prelate and the Methodist church to unravel the basis for the allegation.”

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