By OKOSUN DENNIS
The 9 Brigade, Nigerian Army, Ikeja Cantonment, has denied alleged involvement of personnel of OP MESA in the destruction of electrical cables belonging to a private company in Lagos.
The Assistant Director, Army Public Relations, 9 Brigade, Ikeja, Major Sydney Mbaneme told National Daily on Thursday that a report credited to the Punch newspaper on Wednesday was “false, misconstrued and a deliberate act to tarnish the image of Nigerian Army.”
He explained that 9 Brigade Nigerian Army was not shielding its soldiers who allegedly vandalized a N63 million cable belonging to one Peace Global Satellite Communications Limited,, a Lagos based telecommunications firm.
National Daily learnt that in 2016, two companies Golden Nigeria Limited Owode – Ikorodu Lagos and Peace Global Satellite Communication Limited of Suite 2 Peace Hotels, Ikeja had hired hoodlums and engaged one another in a fisticuffs over the ownership of some cables.
It was further gathered that as the friction was degenerating into a huge conflagration, one of the parties, Mr Matthew Okono of Golden Nigerian Limited, invited troops of OP MESA, who were on patrol.
In line with maintaining peace and order, Major Mbaneme further added that, “the troops intervened to maintain law and order in line with their mandates and did not aid any of the parties in vandalism.
He noted that they stayed till the police arrived at the scene and took both parties in the conflict and exhibits to their station.
Major Mbaneme in a statement titled “Alleged Case of Vandalism: Setting the records straight,” condemned Punch’s reports noting that “the Nigerian Army has zero tolerance for any misconduct perpetrated by its personnel especially those entrusted with the responsibility of carrying out Internal Security operations.”
While denying Punch’s conclusion that “the Brigade is also carrying out inappropriate and biased investigation,” reiterated that the report was inappropriate and a deliberate act to smear the image of the army.
“Therefore, it is pertinent to set the records straight to avoid creating erroneous impression in the minds of good people of our country.
“As a matter of fact, all serving personnel are bound under the civil law as enshrined in the constitution as well as Armed Forces Act, hence the initiation of a preliminary investigation into the matter to ascertain the soldiers’ complicity and level of involvement.
“It is also important to state that the Army carried out its investigation in liaison with the office of the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State. Hence the Nigerian Army will not be stampeded with frivolous claims and demands for release of report to unauthorized sources. The law must and will take its course through the proper procedure.
He further added that the the soldiers who took action without following the proper procedure were appropriately sanctioned.
The spokesperson of the Brigade noted that “the Brigade will continue to subject itself to good conduct and always ready to assist the civil authority whenever the situation demands within the established law of the land.”
Major Mbaneme used the opportunity to caution journalists to clarify and balance their reports before going to the press to avoid misinforming members of the public who will not have the opportunity to further clarify the truism of what was reported.