The Defence Headquarters yesterday expressed dismay over a report by a national daily on Friday that 3,032 soldiers were alleged to have embarked on hunger strike, simply for not been posted back to their units.
According to the report, the affected soldiers, who were reinstated last August after they were dismissed for acts of misconduct while fighting Boko Haram insurgency in the northeast, rejected their posting to the battle front over claims that when they reported at their various units, they were not accepted because the Nigerian Army has not issued them with reinstatement letters.
“The story was false and not a true reflection of the situation among the affected soldiers”, a statement by the Director of Defence Information, Rabe Abubakar said.
Setting the record straight, Abubakar, a Brigadier General, said rather than discontentment, the soldiers are enthusiastic and full of praises to the military authority for giving them another chance to re-unite with their colleagues for better services to their fatherland.
“It is worrisome that a reputable newspaper of national outlook would source its story from unreliable social media without corroboration with relevant authorities to ascertain the veracity of the news. It is more worrisome when such unsubstantiated story borders on national security”, the Defence spokesman said.
According to him, “This practice negates the ethics of journalism and is grossly unprofessional. Information that threatens national security should be avoided and efforts should be intensified to confirm from highest authority before going to press.
“Press should also avoid fuelling tension, no matter the inherent personal gains, especially now that all hands are on deck to unite all Nigerians against insecurity and insurgency.
“For avoidance of doubt, it is a taboo for military personnel to embark on strike or to do any of such things the newspaper reported.
“It has never happened and will not happen because we are disciplined, professional and highly loyal to the constituted authority.
“Such behaviour could only occur within unprofessional soldiers, and certainly not Nigerian military”.
While reiterating his open door policy, Brig.-Gen. Abubakar urged anyone wishing to clarify issues bordering on defence and national security to do so, in order to disseminate correct and accurate information to the citizens.