By Toby Prince
A civil rights lawyer, Emmanuel Osuagwu Ugochukwu, has dismissed reports by some section of the media which claimed Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt Gen Tukur Buratai called for prayers to end insurgency.
The Punch Newspaper had painted a scenario, falsely quoting the COAS as saying “terrorism and terrorist groups could not be eliminated alone by the military unless religious bodies and organisations in the country come to the forefront of the spiritual battle”.
This trailed a spiritual warfare seminar at the Nigerian Army Resource Centre on Monday, with the theme, ‘Countering insurgency and violent extremism in Nigeria through spiritual warfare.’
However, in a press statement titled “critics of Army Chief goofed over suggestion to fight insurgency spiritually”, Mr Ugochukwu rubbished such report with the sole intent of propagating “mischief”.
According to the legal practitioner, the COAS never in any way suggested using spiritualism to fight insurgency rather called on religious leaders to support the Nigerian Army in eradicating ideologies fuelling insurgency in the country.
Mr Ugochukwu, therefore, urged Nigerians to ignore such misleading reports, especially at a time the Nigerian troops are coasting to victory.
Read the full press statement below
My attention has been dawn to a sensational headline in THE PUNCH NEWSPAPER publication of October 1 2019 titled “Knocks as Buratai seeks prayers to defeat Boko Haram”.
According to the PUNCH NEWSPAPER , “The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, has said terrorism and terrorist groups could not be eliminated alone by the military unless religious bodies and organisations in the country come to the ‘forefront of the spiritual battle.’
According to the PUNCH, Buratai stated these on Monday in Abuja at a spiritual warfare seminar at the Nigerian Army Resource Centre, with the theme, ‘Countering insurgency and violent extremism in Nigeria through spiritual warfare.’
Now, if not for mischief, how does the headline justify the goal of the seminar organized by the Nigerian Army yesterday? How does the entire speech of the Army Chief amount to seeking prayers to fight a physical war as portrayed by the PUNCH?
The speech by the Army Chief, though represented by the CHIEF OF ARMY ADMINISTRATION Major Gen S.M YUSUF, never in anyway suggested using spiritualism to fight insurgency in the war front. Rather The Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, called on religious leaders to support the Nigerian Army in eradicating ideologies fuelling insurgency in the country.
What the Army Chief stated clearly was that aside eliminating the insurgents in the battlefield their ideologies must also be killed spiritually. Ideology is not a physical realm, it is a thought process and you do not kill ideas or ideology by physical war.
In essence the PUNCH PUBLICATION of OCTOBER 1 2019 was an attempt to portray the Army Chief as suggesting the use of spiritualism in the actual battle field and thus try to tarnish his image.
Nigerians are urged to ignore the unpatriotic and sensational headline of PUNCH NEWSPAPER as no where in the entire speech did the Army Chief suggest that spiritual method will now be used to fight in the battle field. Such publications are thus misleading.