‘Soldiers Who Run Away from Enemy Deserve to Die’ – CDS Alex Badeh
The Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, has said that soldiers who run away from the battle front, where they are supposed to be fighting the enemy deserves to die.
Badeh said the duty of a soldier is to obey first and not mutiny against their commanders, saying such action is punishable by death.
He spoke yesterday during the opening ceremony of a three-day retreat on security and media relations in crisis Management, organised by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) and Trim Communication in Abuja.
According to him: “When we took an oath to become soldiers, we did not say there was anything like constructive mutiny, your own is to first obey, we took oath to defend Nigeria with everything we have.”
He added: “I have not heard of any American soldier running away from enemies, but our own, people will jump out of Amoured Personnel Carrier (APC) because they want to donate the APC to Boko Haram. You run away and yet we condemned those people to death.
“The National Assembly made the law, it’s there in the law books, people are saying no, you cannot do that, why wouldn’t we do it. In fact, maybe you will now push us to go and start doing field court martial in the bush. We try them, in five minutes we would have finished the trial, kill them, bury them and we go on with the fight.”
The air chief marshal noted that: “We are trying to show people that the justice system of the military works, that is why we brought them to a court martial. So let us allow these processes to take place, your own is not to say we should not kill, the law says so, if you run away from enemy, it is cowardice and you should die.
“If you don’t do that, then why would I take a gun and you tell me there is an enemy behind that door I should go and kill him, if there are no laws that compel me to do it I will not it.”
Badeh confirmed the existence of moles in the Nigerian armed forces, who he refers to as “fifth columnists’’ responsible for the conflicting information that emanates from the military to the media and members of the public.
He said: “If your people are misleading you, what do you do? There are too many fifth columnists.
“There was a report which said: ‘oh, we have seen some of the abducted Chibok girls, only eight are missing, it was a very senior officer that gave that information from the Chibok area. We are dealing with that situation. That was when people started saying watch what the Director, Defence Information (DDI), Maj.-Gen. Olukolade, says. He was misled by one of us,” he noted.
Badeh decried the attitude of Nigerians against the military operations on the Boko Haram insurgency threatening to destablised the country.
He said the military was aware that people do not like it, “but they should realise that we are the ones keeping this country together, and should avoid giving the enemies the opportunity to operate.”
The CDS noted that in 2004, some foreign interests predicted that Nigeria will disintegrate in 2015, and yet everybody kept quiet and watching, but it cannot happen in this country as they are merely jokers.
The CDS noted that what was cuurently happening in Nigeria with Boko Haram being vicious was not different from the ISIS issues, but all the world powers have gone there at different times to bomb Iraq and Syria, but none in Nigeria.
“The military has taken a lot of bashing from everywhere but all of us know what we are going through,” the CDS lamented.
He gave an example of two Boko Haram members on a motorbike, who went to an area and opened fire on innocent citizens, and people started saying they are killing everybody and the military is not there.
“We are not omnipresent, neither are we omnipotent, people should give us accurate information,” he advised.
In addition, the CDS advised journalists to be guided by national interest in the reportage of the ongoing counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations in the North-east.
Badeh further advised members of the fourth estate of the realm that while they must perform their duties of informing the public and reporting the truth, they must however be guided by national security, and avoid writing on issues that would heat up the polity or jeopardise the country’s security.
He commended media performance and coverage of the war efforts so far, even though he expressed reservations and disappointment on some aspects of the reportage, which he sees as not being patriotic enough.
He said: “I would not say it has been what we are looking for. Because without pointing accusing fingers, some newspapers celebrate when anything bad happens to this country. They really celebrate it may be because of politics. President Goodluck Jonathan cannot be doing everything.
“People, institutions work, when an institution has small problem, you do not go and say the president has failed. Journalists should endeavour to verify their report before publishing.
“If you know how many condolence messages I have received that my house was burnt, that my whole village has been burnt but no Boko Haram has gone to my village.”
“I do not know whether it is me they want to bring down or the president that they want to bring down, that is media,’’ he added.
In the same vein, the National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Mohammed Sambo Dasuki (rtd), urged the media to be patriotic in their reportage of the operations,
noting that the country was facing “significant security challenge.’’
Dasuki noted that terrorism was new to the nation and cautioned against reports and pictures that could affected the image of the country.
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