Former Chief of Army Staff, General Onyeabo Azubuike Ihejirika has responded to the allegations made by Australian Negotiator that he is one of the sponsors of Boko Haram.
Lt. Gen Azubuike Ihejirika 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 described the allegations against him as frivolous and unfounded.
Ihejirika who warned against giving undue attention to the Australian’s claims said the allegation was meant to divert the attention of the country and its security agencies thereby causing division.
The ex-Army boss who warned Nigerians against utterances that could bring down the morale of Nigerian troops, a situation he described as dangerous.
He also 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.
Iherjirika said: “If this accusation was made in a country like US or UK, it would not be discussed for one hour because they would wave it aside. But they are exploiting our traditional fault lines, a multi-religious multi ethnic, multi-cultural and young democracy, so what they have tried to do is aimed at achieving what they could not achieve.
“I have chosen to do this because we cannot allow national security to be toyed with; the need for security awareness in spite of the effort I put in at time and the effort being put by the current leadership of the Armed Forces, the need for security awareness still persists.
“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.
“I want to further advise that baseless, unfounded and frivolous allegations like this have the capacity of diverting our attention, away from the main problem.
“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. Therefore, I have no apologies at all whatsoever to those who thought I was high handed.
“I used to explain to them that the Nigerian Army is not high handed, but every Army makes a lot of efforts to ensure that its troops operate within the rule of engagement”.
“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 dimension of air, land and sea; we have clearly seen the fourth dimension of warfare”, he stated.
Ihejirika who pointed that his leadership recruited 9000 soldiers in 2013 in monitoring the borders effectively and beef up the strength of the military said that he remained unshaken 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”.
On August 31, Australian Negotiator, Stephen Daviss had insisted that former governor of Borno State, Modu Sheriff and former Chief of Army Staff, General Onyeabo Azubuike Ihejirika are Boko Haram sponsors.
Meanwhile, Modu Sheriff has since reacted to the Negotiator’s accusation and threatened to sue him saying: “I have no association with any terrorists anywhere. “I have never met the group. I cannot be a sponsor of a group I have not met before.”
Following the the Australian Negotiator, Stephen Davis' allegations, the Federal Government, yesterday, denied hiring Dr Stephen Davis as a Boko Haram negotiator.
The FG said they have no plans of prosecuting General Ihejirika and Ali Modu Sheriff based on the allegations made by Australian negotiator Stephen Davis.