The Spokesman for the Nigerian Army, Brigadier-General Mohammed Yerima, has denied that the military is profiting from terrorism.
Last week, the popular Kaduna-based Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, who has been visiting bandits in the forest in an attempt to negotiate peace deals with them, had alleged that military authorities don’t want the fight against insurgency and banditry to end because of the huge funds earmarked to tackle insecurity.
Gumi added that, “Nobody can justify criminality. Criminality is criminality, there is no word that can justify it. But just look at it, IPOB (Indigenous People of Biafra), they never had the Nigerian Air Force bombing them, Niger Delta militants never had the Nigerian Air Force bombing them.
“The bandits are complaining mostly against the military killing innocent people. They resorted to buying arms. How did they get the arms? They resorted to kidnapping people which is an end result of these military actions.
“Look, they are ready to drop these arms and return back to the fold of the Nigerians just for simple things; schools, hospitals, water.
“And there is an allegation: the military doesn’t want this conflict to end because of the billions of naira they claim for fighting insurgency. So, the military is not cooperating.
“I praise the police and the Inspector-General of Police. I give him credit for assisting us to go and meet these people, but the military is not forthcoming, they are not cooperating, I don’t know why.”
Reacting in an interview, Brig-Gen. Yerima said the cleric is entitled to his opinions.
“We are just coming into this regime, when I say we, I mean the present Chief of Army Staff, how many days has he spent as Chief of Army Staff? We are giving our best to the country.
“We don’t know what Gumi is saying that we are benefiting from the insurgency, all we know is to protect the lives of Nigerians, our duty is to protect the territorial integrity of Nigeria.
“I don’t know who the beneficiaries are, what is our benefit? Is he talking about buying of equipment? Is it going to our pocket? It’s not, the equipment is to fight insurgency. I think it’s unfortunate, we respect him, we don’t want in any way to be confrontational with him,” Yerima said.