Terrorists not camping around Abuja – Defence HQS

NEWS DIGEST – The Chief of Defense Staff, General Lucky Irabor, has dismissed claim that suspected terrorists are setting up camps around the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

General Irabor spoke on Thursday during the Ministerial briefing organised by the Presidential Communications Team at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, placing the source of the said information as one of the online media mischiefs.

Leading Yoruba sociocultural group, Afenifere, on Wednesday, raised the alarm that it had gained intelligence from some sources that the terrorists had started setting up camps around the FCT and Niger State, calling for immediate action.

However, reacting to the alarm, General Irabor said the claim is false and should be discountenanced.

He pointed out that many people pushing out information do so to ‘fly agenda kites’, adding that it there was anything like being claimed by those raising the alarm, the military would know.

“One thing you must understand is that by virtue of the current environment, climate, okay, technology climate, as it were, fear is being duplicated by various means and so, some individuals that have ideas, the only way they can sell the idea is by pushing it to the public, hoping that there will be an acceptance of that idea.

“So, if the security agencies are oblivious about certain… of course they get hoodwinked and then, of course, lose focus. So, for you as members of the press, you must have also come to terms with that reality, that sometimes you’ll find that many of these reports they have an intended aim, an intended purpose and so the narrative has to be created to make it fit into that purpose.

“This is why sometimes some people have to have a rebuttal, some have to say actually, this news is fake and so on and so forth. But on this matter, it is not true. Is it true, it’s not a true report”, he said.

Reacting to alleged military brutality in the Southeast region of the country, Irabor said that the perception of discriminatory military engagement against the people of the region is not correct.

Responding to a question on why the military chose to scale operations up in the Southeast while bandits in the Northwest and North central are considered for negotiations, and repentant terrorists in the Northeast are being rehabilitated, the Defense Chief noted that insecurity varies from region to region.

According to him, “what you find in the southeast is different from what is obtainable in the north.”

On Sheikh Gumi, he said the Muslim cleric, who had been leading negotiations with bandits, does not work for the military and the military would not prevent anyone from playing his part in the fight against insecurity.

He said what was not acceptable to the military was when such persons work at cross purposes with security agencies’ objectives.

Gen. Irabor informed that despite the military engagement in the Southeast, he had led discussions with people of the area.

He said while Nigerians have the right to pass their views to government, they must not do so through the use of violence.

The CDS warned: “If anyone thinks they can try the armed forces, let him try the shape of the armed forces.”

Asked whether the leader of the Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP), Abu Musab Al-Barnawi, was dead, he said: “I can authoritatively confirm to you that Abu Musab is dead. As simple as that. He is dead and remains dead”.