The Nigerian Army has said that it did not regret the clash soldiers had with members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, known as Shiites during which scores of the Muslim group were killed, adding that they do not owe the sect any apology.
Speaking on Wednesday in Kaduna, the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 1 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major. Gen. Adebiyi Oyebade, said the military operation against the group’s headquarters in Zaria on December 12, 2015 was to avert possible outbreak of law and order by members of the sect.
The GOS, who said this while addressing newsmen on the activities of officers and men under his command in 2015, argued that the Shi’ite members attempted to kill the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, adding that if the Shi’ite could attack the Chief of Army Staff, they could as well attack the nation’s President.
The army, therefore, warned the Shi’ite and other Islamic sects against violence, declaring that the Army would not fold its arms to watch Nigerians being molested.
According to him, the Army took the decision on the Shi’ite members in order to curb what could have resulted into another major security challenge like the Boko Haram.
He further reiterated that the Nigerian Army had no issue with the Shi’ites as long as they obey constituted authority.
The GOC said, “The so-called clash was avoidable, the Nigerian Army has no issue with the Shi’ites. They are like any sect in the land but as long as they obey the law of the land, there won’t be any problem.
“But if any group choose to challenge the authority of the land, it means they do not value the sanctity of life and the constitution of Nigeria.
“We have problem with those who choose to challenge the authority of the state and create a state within a state, who do not recognise the laws of the land. An attempt on COAS is akin to an attempt on a sitting President. So, in the cause of doing our work we make no apology to any group.”