Major General Adeniyi Oyebade, the General Officer Commanding, (GOC) 1 Mechanized Division of the Nigerian Army, has said that, the Nigerian Army has no apology for its recent encounter with members of the Shia Islamic sect in Zaria, Kaduna State.
The GOC declared that, the Army cannot tolerate any group or sect who threaten the peace and stability of the country.
Addressing newsmen at the headquarters of 1 Division in Kaduna on Wednesday, the GOC said the Army has no issue with the Shi’ites.
They are like any other sect in the land, but as long as they obey the law of the land no problem, but if any group chooses to challenge the authority of the land, it means they do not value the sanctity of life and the constitution of Nigeria.”
Major Adeniyi added that the military has no issue with the Islamic sect, pointing out that even some military personnel are Shi’ites by religious calling, but they respect and obey constituted authority, and the military has no issue with them.
According to General Adeniyi Oyebade:
Army has paid heavily with the blood of its officers and men to protect this country, and so we have no apology to any group, either Shi’ites Islamic sect, Christian sect, even pagan sect that is threatening the peace of the country.
We don’t have any issue with the Shi’ites or any sect at all in the land as long as they obey the law of the land. But if any group tends to challenge the constituted authority of the land, it means that such group does not respect the constitution of the land.
Even in the military, we have Shi’ites members, but there is no issue with them because they are law abiding citizens.
But we have issues with those who create a State within a State, and our rules of engagement are very clear, that is, when there is threat to a constituted authority, it must be arrested before it goes full blown.
We know the business of violence but we apply it professionally if the peace of the land is being threatened, so we are appealing to Nigerians who are bent on causing violence stay off,” he said.
General Adeniyi Oyebade however insisted that the Army remains the guard of Nigerian democracy, but stated that, an attempt on the Chief of the nation’s Army is akin to an attempt on a sitting president.
Giving an overview of the activities of the division in 2015, the GOC said:
We want to re assure the members of the North West zone that the army will do everything possible as mandated by the constitution of Nigeria to protect our people and to enable the people go about their activities without molestation.”