The Nigerian military has been urged to remain focused and not get distracted in its prosecution of the war against terrorism, banditry and other criminal vices in the country.
This call came from Dr Thomas Uzah, a security expert and head of mass communication department, Kwararafa University Wukari in reaction to the International Criminal Court’s preliminary report.
In a touching message on Monday, Uzah hailed troops for their patriotism, sacrifices and dedication in the face of conspiracy, criticism and blackmail.
Despite exhibiting a high level of professionalism in operations, Uzah expressed disbelief that the prosecutor said the ICC will investigate troops over allegations of crimes against humanity and war crimes.
Condemning the criminal court, he said it is malicious and grossly insensitive to accuse the troops of such misconduct while encouraging terrorists and other groups to take up arms against the Nigerian State.
The security expert, however, urged troops not to be discouraged by such emotional blackmail but continue to give in their best in the service of the fatherland.
Rather than flinch under this blackmail, he said this is the best time for gallant troops to stand tall and prosecute the war against insurgency and terrorism to its logical conclusion.
The full message read: “I felicitate with our gallant troops on the success of the several operations carried out to rid the country of banditry, insurgency, terrorism and other heinous crimes against Nigeria and her citizens.
“Though the Military High Command is blessed to be personnel by men of high integrity, suffused in sophisticated military drills and strategies, the success so far recorded at the theatres of operation which have liberated many communities could not have been achieved without the dedicated foot soldiers who are on ground and even willing and ready to carry out commands.
“Unlike most people who have been making unguarded utterances about the sustained military operations at the battlefield, I cannot afford to make jest of the risk you’re taking on our behalf most times at great inconveniences to you because I have been there and I’ve seen what you’re going through.
“Many do not realise that while they sleep in the comfort of their houses, that you are out there in the cold, staying awake in trenches hardly able to catch some sleep on the mats laid in the makeshift camps in the few times you are allowed to stretch.
“I have seen how even water to take a decent bath becomes a problem once the pressure to deliver on an operation mounts and you are in the trenches.
“I commend you for your doggedness and resilience and I dare say that were it not for your belief in Nigeria and the extent you’re willing to go to keep the country one, that you would long have abandoned the fight.
“I can imagine the pains going through your minds when agents of the International Criminal Court, ICC, totally oblivious of the fate that had befallen many of your colleagues in the hands of cold-blooded terrorists, would dare accuse our troops of any untoward activity in the course of carrying out operations.
“This is the same body that said nothing when Boko Haram butchered many men and officers and made a video of the killings.
“Same international agencies that did not bat an eyelid when terrorists planted mines on major roads and blew up troops and other civilians plying such routes.
“I’m surprised that despite the high professionalism you have shown in the course of carrying out operations, that the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued a preliminary determination to investigate troops over allegations of “crimes against humanity” and “war crimes”.
“I find it most unfair that despite criticisms from Nigerians that troops are being too lenient with captured terrorists by allowing them to surrender, that someone could have the gumption to accuse our troops of committing crimes against humanity and war crimes like murder, rape, torture, cruel treatment; enforced disappearance; forcible transfer of population; outrages upon personal dignity etc.
“I wonder how these international agencies draw their conclusions when it is obvious that Nigerians are not aware of the cases they have listed.
“If troops have been half that unprofessional and brutal, communities would not have been begging for military presence in their vicinity.
“I recall how only recently, the people of Gwoza on sighting troops who were passing by, ran out of their houses to applaud them as they go and prayed for them in appreciation for what they have done to liberate the town.
“It is also not long ago that communities donated structures to accommodate troops and ensure their continuous stay in their vicinity.
“I, therefore, find it highly malicious and consider it grossly insensitive for the ICC which only flex its muscles on developing nations to accuse ur troops of such misconduct.
“I condemn it and pronounce without ambiguity that the intention of the ICC is not meant to serve humanity, but to dampen the morale of our troops while encouraging the terrorists and other groups that want to take up arms against the Nigerian State.
“Where on earth did our troops, for instance, intentionally direct attacks against the civilian population or individual civilians not taking direct part in hostilities or unlawfully imprison, conscripting or enlisting children under the age of fifteen years into armed forces and using them to participate actively in hostilities?
“I want to believe that the ICC is talking about a different country, not Nigeria or at worst is only trying to be mischievous by cooking up allegations that never existed because all these allegations are strange to us
“The allegations are only aimed at derailing the war against insurgency and it is a grand plan by terrorist sympathizers to further their warfare against the people of Nigeria.
“I, therefore, call on our troops not to be discouraged by such emotional blackmail but continue to give in their best in the service of the fatherland.
“Rather than flinch under this blackmail, I think this is the best time for our gallant troops to stand tall and prosecute the war against insurgency and terrorism to its logical conclusion.
“We are already on the verge of winning and we must not lose focus
‘Viva Nigerian Troops!
“May God continue to be with you.”