Ihejirika, at Hand-over Ceremony, again Denies Rights Violation Charge

The former Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika, on Monday in Abuja said the Nigerian Army does not encourage the violation of human rights.
Ihejirika made this remark while handing over the mantle of the army leadership to Maj-Gen Kenneth Minimah.
“The army is a highly organised institution that does not condone indiscipline; directives are issued and when the directives get to lower command, operational orders are also issued.
“This is what goes down the line and at every level of adherence, the rule of engagement is emphasised.
“No chief of army staff, no GOC and no commander will encourage his troops to violate human rights.
“If a thing like that happens or is suspected to have happened, we expect the complainants to channel their allegations appropriately.
“This will be thoroughly investigated and dealt with appropriately.’’
He reacted to some newspaper reports that 31 generals would be retired from the army because of their relative seniority to the new helmsman.
Ihejirika said only five officers ranked higher in seniority than the new chief.
He said the five officers had submitted their letters of voluntary retirement to him as they to make the work of the new chief very easy.
“Why then should we publish things that are not true just to get the system boiling? We should be fair to the ordinary citizens; the military deserve every encouragement they can get.
“Not everyone that joins the army goes back home alive.
“I therefore call on Nigerians especially those in positions where their voices will be heard to think deeply about their action to avoid overheating the system.’’
He said that the armed forces should be encouraged to do their best to develop the nation.
On his part, the new Chief of Army Staff acknowledged the contributions of the out-going chief to the growth of the army and the nation.
Minimah said that having observed developments in the service, a lot of work still needed to be done.
“I therefore call for your support and the support of all Nigerians to take the Nigerian Army to greater heights.
“Let me remind us all that the task ahead is great and would demand our total commitment to duty.’’