The Nigerian Army (NA) has denied the alleged complicity of its soldiers in the recent kidnap, in Abia State, of the Prelate of the Methodist Church, Nigeria, Samuel Kanu-Uche and two other priests.
There have been insinuations making rounds on the social media that some troops of the Nigerian Army were involved in the incident.
However, the Army Headquarters, in a release by its Director, Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu, said the allegation has not been substantiated.
He, however, said the Nigerian Army expressed its concern and sympathy for the victim of the 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,” Nwachukwu stated in the release.
He added that, moreso, the Nigerian Army unit has not received any debrief from the Prelate or the Methodist Church, Nigeria.
“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,” it was stated in the release.