The Defence Headquarters has challenged the North-East leaders to prove the allegation that security forces are collaborating with the militant Islamic sect, Boko Haram, in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states.
The Director of Defence Information, Maj.-Gen. Chris Olukolade, who stated this in a statement to one of our correspondents, said the intelligence and security agencies were working on the information.
The defence headquarters spokesman said unsubstantiated allegations such as the ones by the North-East leaders could create mistrust and undermine cohesion among troops.
He stated, “The military cannot condone such tendencies (collaboration with Boko Haram) within its ranks. Just like any form of disloyalty, overt or covert collaboration attracts severe sanctions. This notwithstanding, allegation alone is not enough. It has to be proven.
“If anybody makes claims to the existence of collaborators in our midst, they should come forward with proofs. The issue here is not about speculation or suspicion, but proof.
“Unsubstantiated allegation such as this gives the impression that those involve are merely out to create mistrust and undermine the cohesion among the troops. Is it with a motive to depress morale and fighting spirit of the troops?”
Political leaders from Borno and Yobe states, had, at a news conference in Abuja on Monday, alleged that there were indications that security forces were collaborating with the insurgents.
The elders, under the aegis of Borno, Yobe People’s Forum, had said there were instances that suggested that security agents were aware of Boko Haram attacks before they occurred or they were not proactive to prevent them.
They cited the attack on the Federal Government College, Buni Yadi, Yobe State, where security personnel reportedly withdrew from their checkpoint hours before the attack that claimed the lives of 59 schoolchildren.
A former Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshall Al-amin Dagash (retd.), who read the text of the leaders’ position at the press conference on behalf of the members of the forum, asked, “Are the authorities unaware of helicopters dropping arms and ammunition, food and medical supplies to areas well known to be strongholds of the insurgents?”