The Nigerian Army has issued a stern warning to secessionist groups like the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) and Boko Haram that it has a constitutional duty to smash them when ordered by the President.
The warning was contained in a statement issued today by the acting Director of Army Public Relations, Col. Sani Usman, in which he warned that the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria provides that the Armed Forces of Nigeria shall suppress insurrection and act in aid of civil authority to restore order when called upon to do so by the president.
It added that commanders and troops involved in such operations were guided by the Nigerian Army Code of Conduct and Rules of Engagement for Internal Security Operations in aid of civil authority.
“The Nigerian Army would like to send an unequivocal warning to all and sundry, more specifically to all those threatening and agitating for the dismemberment of the country,’’ the statement said.
It identified such persons as those “committing treasonable felony and arson, as well as wanton destruction of lives and properties’’ and added: “once deployed, we shall apply the rules of engagement to the letter.
The statement also said it was necessary to remind the public, and indeed, military personnel about the existence of such regulations to avoid any violations.
The Army said the provision had been reinforced by the Armed Forces Act of 2004 which justified the use of necessary force by troops to contain crisis resulting in deaths, injury and damage to property.
“It is, however, hoped that such circumstances would not arise that we should be deployed on such operations, because, let nobody make any mistake, within the ambit of the law, we shall apply the rules to the fullest.
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