The immediate past Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen Azubuike Ihejirika, who was recently accused by Australian negotiator, Stephen Davies of being one of the sponsors of Boko Haram yesterday warned stakeholders not to be deceived by what he described as frivolous and baseless accusations aimed at diverting attention from the counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency efforts.
Ihejirika spoke during the meeting of the Alumni Association of members of Regular Course 18 of the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), at the National Defence College (NDC), Abuja.
The former army boss said the claims by the Australian that the insurgents mentioned him and a former Governor of Borno State, Ali Modu Sherrif, among the chief sponsors of Boko Haram terrorists was unfounded.
"I want to further advice that baseless, frivolous, and unfounded allegations like this have the capacity of diverting our attention away from the main problem", he said.
Speaking further, Ihejirika noted that if the allegations against his person were to have taken place in the developed countries like the United States and the United Kingdom, the issue would have been given not more than an hour’s attention for it to be dismissed.
He warned stakeholders and allies that the terrorists are currently exploiting the country's ethno-religious, socio-political and multi-cultural faultiness to advance their cause, which they have not been able to achieve through violence.
He said: “Well, why have I chosen to talk at length; I have chosen to do this because we cannot allow national security to be toyed with; the need for security awareness still persist.
“I want to urge all Nigerians to join hands to support Mr. President and members of the Armed Forces in their onerous task to rid this country of terrorism.
“That we are where we are today is a lesson to us, the lesson is that the terrorists are not sleeping; what they cannot achieve through bombing they want to achieve through media warfare. War is no longer fought in the traditional three dimensions of air, land and sea; we have clearly seen the fourth dimension of warfare."
The former COAS said that he was not angered by the attention given to the allegation because of his belief that “we are yet to come to terms with the motives of the terrorists and their desire to bring this nation down.”
He stated also that he did not have any apologies to those who shared the conviction that he was high handed in the way he handled the insurgents during his tenure as the COAS.
He also urged Nigerians to avoid utterances that could adversely affect the morale of troops which he described as very dangerous.
Ihejirika stated that the Nigerian Army under his command did a lot to crush insurgency and terrorism including recruitment of 9000 soldiers in 2013 to beef up the strength of the military and to monitor the borders more effectively.
He noted: “Nigeria must exist before you can hold a single political office and there is no compromise in the effort to have a peaceful and united Nigeria.”