PRESS TEXT BY THE FORUM OF PRESBYTERIAN BISHOPS AND EPISCOPAL COUNCIL OF NIGERIA.
RE: FORMER VICE PRESIDENT ATIKU ABUBAKARS’ ALLEGATIONS OF MASS KILLINGS OF SOLDIERS BY TERRORIST AND SECRET BURIAL BY NIGERIAN AUTHORITIES
THEME: PUTTING THE RECORDS STRAIGHT.
Ladies and gentlemen of the Press, this emergency briefing is imminent on two counts:
The need to save the face of the nation and of course, more importantly, the need to protect the institutions that sacrifice for our territorial sovereignty .
Just a couple of hours ago, former vice president Atiku Abubakar made damning allegations of killing of over one thousand troops of the Nigerian military. He went further to allude that same number have been buried in a secret manner to conceal from the public the occurrence of such imaginary tale.
It is of course more worrisome that an elder statesman of Atikus standing would prefer to make sweeping statements in the media such that threatens the security of the same nation he seeks to govern. Our curiosity is his reference to a foreign journal which of course can not be censored by local authorities on her sources of information and manner of presentation. Why no Nigerian media house is yet privy to this imaginary killing of one thousand troops, it is quite curious for the former vice president to refer a foreign media as his source of information. We are disturbed that the person of the former vice president should understand the implications of spurning unverified allegations when he has access to the government authorities.
We find his hastened statement as a deliberate and carefully calculated plan to put the Nigerian military and the government in bad light for political/social expediency.
How on earth would one thousand troops go extinct and are burried secretly that the entire Nigerian media would not know? The reference of Mr Atiku to a foreign media outfit is unfair, totally mischievous and is a big threat to our national interest which is security.
As one, who nursed a vision to rule this country, much is expected of the former vice president. The temptation to mortgage the security of this country using foreign media outfits and other platforms must be resisted and discouraged.
Nigeria is not at war, the fight against terrorism has been won and its almost on its fringes. Accepted, we have challenges , but no country is totally immune from challenges. Nigeria can not be persistently painted in dark colours before the world for political expedient reasons such as the former vice president has done. This line of thought is totally condemnable. We do not need to bring down the roof top of our nation in order to have access to power. But going by Mr Atiku Abubarkar comments, one would sieve through it all, a very clear intention… To demarket Nigerian military and the government authorities.
This press text, while we await the official response from the military, it is important to clarify that as religious leaders , we do not take sides with individuals or entities but the interest of national security is Paramount and more important , to this end we request the following :
- That the Nigerian army issues a statement in response to the allegations of the former vice president immediately.
- That in the interest of national security, cohesion and future of our sovereign state, the former vice president should rescind his statement pending investigations done by independent international organizations.
- That the former vice president should immediately apologize to the Nigerian army and government authorities in the interest of national security.
- That for Nigerians to have confidence in the former vice president, he should first understand the need for caution especially having his status and political exposure in mind.
Ladies and gentleman, the Nigerian military authorities are also Nigerians just like everyone of us. As leaders of the church and, its our duty to reawaken our consciousness towards peace and cohesion and sacrifice for our collective stability.
Thank you very deeply for your audience ladies and gentlemen.
Nweke John Paul.