The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) said on Tuesday that the much-publicised documentary by a UK-based newspaper, Daily Independent, was not only hurriedly packaged to denigrate military, but a rehash of a video under investigation.
The DHQ in a statement said: “Nigerian Defence Headquarters has carefully watched the 4-minute video clip which the Daily Independent newspaper, UK promised to release detailing what it described as “Nigerian government’s war crime against its citizens”.
It is noteworthy that despite the very wide and alarming promotion given to the said document, the material only contained a synopsis of scenes from the same video which had been in circulation on the internet for some weeks now.
“ It will be recalled that the military authority has also initiated a broad investigation into these clips, with a view to identifying those indicted to ensure that due justice is meted to any perpetrator of human rights abuse narrated in those films.
“It is also noteworthy that the only new addition to the video film report of the documentary are the comments by individuals whose position about terrorism in Nigeria are already well known.
“It is therefore curious that despite the ongoing efforts, these apparently orchestrated campaign with the use of scenes and footages that are under investigation could constitute a threat to the efforts to locate the culprits of the alleged human rights abuse.
“ It will be recalled that similar attitude was displayed last week by a human rights campaign group which, despite assurances of due investigation of the crimes alleged in these video, still went ahead to embark on a media campaign with similar video, thereby apparently giving the likely culprits a chance to escape or cover their tracks.
It would appear that this hastily packaged conclusions and judgmental remarks are clearly in furtherance of the now common public assault against the Nigerian Government and its military. Unfortunately, these tendency only serves to compromise efforts at unraveling the perpetrators of the crimes, thereby compounding the evil of war crime as Daily Independent UK puts it.
“For the avoidance of doubt, it must be stated that the DHQ has not reneged on its promise to deeply investigate the veracity of these video clips when it first appeared on the internet. It must be reiterated here that the Nigerian military takes human rights issues very seriously and will not take lightly any proven case of abuse by its personnel. The barbaric bahaviour depicted in that video clip remains strange and unexpected in a professional force like the Nigerian military, especially considering the efforts that has been put into ensuring due observance of human rights in all operations.
“Rather, it is a well-known fact that such savagery is consistent with the blood thirsty terrorist group which would not be tolerated within the operations of the Nigerian military.
“The glee with which the Daily Independent newspaper promoted the said video in their earlier report is without doubt in sync with the biased and judgmental posture of a section of the western press who are prepared to go to any extent, even if it means parroting falsehood, just so to find avenue to denigrate African Governments and institutions.”