“We are not unaware that there are extra-territorial elements who do not want us to live in peace or move forward. I am also aware that the war economy has affected many people and now that we are making progress, they think that we need to return to the old order.”
The head of Nigeria’s military Thursday has refuted a story by Reuters indicting the military in forced abortion of about 10,000 women in 10-years.
Lucky Irabor, during the weekly media briefing at the Presidential Villa, Abuja described the report as ‘spurious allegations.’
“I was informed by the Director of Defence Information that he received a mail from Reuters requesting to have an interview with me and he gave me a letter written by one Alexandra Xavis making all manner of spurious allegations, many of which have now been published by the same Reuters.”
“But I said I wasn’t going to dignify such because he was saying that the military since 2013 has been engaged in a planned abortion programme and … that it is perhaps part of government’s design. He also indicated in his letter that 12,000 abortions have been conducted but they have now published that it is 10,000.
“He went on to say their sources and I wondered which sources? I thought with the problems we are contending with, I should not waste my energy on such things besides, it falls within the realm of ‘my mind is made up’ and since that was the position of Reuters, I didn’t think it was necessary for me to call them up and engage in that.
“Yes we have a hospital; 7Div hospital, in Malari cantonment, where I lived and that was our major hospital for the treatment of our personnel and their families especially the wounded and I took the media round the wards for them to see what we do and to confirm to them that the war is real and the wounds inflicted on our personnel is real and it paid off and that is why today sanity has returned to the North-east.”
Mr Irabor added,
“We are not unaware that there are extra-territorial elements who do not want us to live in peace or move forward. I am also aware that the war economy has affected many people and now that we are making progress, they think that we need to return to the old order,” he said.
“We can’t continue to think that the military is the enemy of the people. So, we think that the media [should be] changing that narrative, helping to bring that awareness to the people will enable us to be more potent in our actions. If there are areas that we have crossed the line, it is necessary for you to bring that to our notice and we will address it,” he said.
“It is also necessary for you [media] to keep the public informed through a balanced coverage of our successes, not only when we have underperformed or [fallen] below average. I think it is also necessary to give hope to the people by looking at what we have achieved.
“I think we need to be driven by the need to build the country. You are operating because there is a sovereign and if we lose [that sovereignty] by virtue of our inadvertent reportage, then we will be imperilled.”
“We remain apolitical and also subject to civil authority, subordinated to the Commander-in-Chief and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The Constitution empowers the Commander-in-Chief to give direction to the Armed Forces and … it is necessary for us to have that understanding and confidence that the Armed Forces is totally sub led,” General Irabor said.