The Nigerian Army has reacted to the kidnapping of Methodist Prelate, Samuel Kanu-Uche, who was kidnapped on Sunday by Fulani Herdsmen along the Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway in Umunneochi Local Government Area of Abia State.
The cleric, after he regained his freedom which his Church paid a ransom of N100 million to the kidnappers addressed a press conference in Lagos.
Speaking during a press briefing in Lagos on Tuesday, the cleric said the kidnappers revealed to him that they are Fulani Herdsmen, who claimed to be against the government.
The Prelate said he observed that military men were around the place where the hoodlums operated, while their cows were also around the vicinity.
- Watch the Press briefing organized by the Prelate after he regained his freedom:
Reacting to the alleged military complicity, the Nigerian Army, in a statement signed by the Director, Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu, expressed concern and sympathy for the Prelate. The Army, however, described his statement on troops complicity as a weighty allegation.
They wondered why the cleric will involve the military into such heinous crime despite the spate of insecurity in the region.
The full statement reads: “The Nigerian Army (NA) has been notified of the insinuation making the rounds on social media, alleging complicity of troops of the Nigerian Army in the kidnap incident of the Methodist Prelate in Abia state recently.
“While the Nigerian Army expresses concern and sympathy for the victim of this heinous crime and shares in his pains, the insinuation that troops are complicit in the kidnap incident is not entirely premised on any findings of investigations and therefore cannot be swallowed hook line and sinker. This allegation therefore raises some pertinent questions which are still unanswered.
“Given, the spate of insecurity in the region, the question would be, was the issue reported to the unit covering the area? Did the Methodist Church take the NA into confidence while negotiating the ransom with the kidnappers? No formal complaint has been received by the unit. More worrisome is the fact that it was alleged that the ransom was paid in less than 24 hours. Was the ransome paid to troops? These are questions that beg for answers.
“Moreso, the NA unit, has not received any debrief from the Prelate or the Methodist Church. It is therefore, important to state that troops are deployed at Forward Operating Base(FOB) Okigwe and in front of the Abia State University Uturu and no information was made available to them or to 14 Brigade or any other formation, except the information making the rounds in the social media.
“It must be clarified that troops’ deployment in the Nigerian Army is not done with considerations for ethnic affiliation, hence a deployment of troops of Fulani ethnic extraction who as alleged by the Prelate, carried out the dastardly act is not our practice or modus operandi in the NA.
On its next move, the NA said the Prelate will be invited for questioning, so as to unravel the basis of his allegation.
“Given our professional disposition and zero tolerance for any misconduct in the Nigerian Army, we will take this weighty allegation seriously and approach the Prelate and the Methodist church to unravel the basis for the allegation,” the NA said.