'There will be Punishment for Personnel Found Culpable in Kaduna Incident' - CDS

The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Christopher Gwabin Musa, has promised that the Armed Forces of Nigeria would also punish any personnel found culpable in the incident after the conclusion of the independent investigation ordered by President Bola Tunubu.

General Musa disclosed this while fielding questions from Defence Correspondents at the maiden  interaction with the media on Friday, 15th December 2023 in Abuja.

He said the incident in Kaduna is highly regrettable, it shouldn't be.  

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“Our task and our mandate is to protect civilians, not to kill, maim or destroy anything. At that particular time, we were on the heat of pursuing some bandits within that general area and unfortunately this happened. 

“I am happy the President, Commander-in-Chief has instituted a committee that will look into it critically so that they can also advise how to move forward and how to prevent in future. And then whatever it is, we will know the casualty so that they can also be compensated.

“I assure all Nigerians that the armed forces of Nigeria is here for Nigerians and we want Nigerians to take ownership of the armed forces of Nigeria,” he said. 

General Musa also gave assurance that whatever the ongoing  investigation reveals would determine who would be punished for the mishap, adding that the military authority would wait for the outcome.

He said that the military as a disciplined organisation would not shield any officer found culpable in the incident. If they are found guilty there will be definitely face punishment and I can assure you that we are going to be transparent about it. 

“The members of the committee will not even be members of serving armed forces so that we can have that fairness in the process. I am sure you know in Maiduguri we have jailed a lot of personnel and you can go and verify. In the armed forces, we do not shield offenders. You commit an offence, you go for it and that is why you see we have that level of discipline,” he said.

The CDS also urged Nigerian to await the outcome of the investigation to be able to know exactly what happened, adding that the investigation would reveal a lot of facts about the area. 

General Musa, has called on all Nigerians to join in the fight against insecurity, saying the military alone can not do it.

Musa made the call during the maiden interaction with newsmen on Friday in Abuja.

He said that the cooperation and support from the citizens for the military and all other security agencies was critical to their successes or otherwise in the effort to tackle the security challenges facing the nation.  

“I want to also appeal that when you see something not going right, please report, even if it is our troops that are not doing the right thing, don't just keep quiet and pass by because whatever you see and pass by, you have approved it. 

“If you want changes, report so that we can take action and we want to take action,” he said. 

Musa said that terrorism was always difficult to eradicate because it was based ideology that had added criminality as a result of the pressure exerted in them by the military in the Northeast.

He said that the issue of good governance was also critical to addressing insecurity, adding that political leaders have a role to play to ensure that issues that promote insecurity were not allowed to fester for too long.

According to hum, the military solution is only 30 per cent, while 70 per cent is good governance, equity, fairness and justice.

“The issue of the policing is everybody's responsibility. We must have good policing system that everybody is everybody's brother. 

“We must be our brother's keepers for us to be able to assist and our correctional system should be correctional. 

“The security challenges we are facing is not only a military challenge, it is for everybody and you there you are always most times on the forefront. 

“So that is why it is important for us to have a good understanding of what is going on so that we can clearly sensitise the public and let them understand what is going on,” he said. 

Earlier, the Director, Defence Information, Brig.-Gen. Tukur Gusau, said the media play important  role in nation building with serious implication to the national security. 

Gusau said there was the need for the military to partner closely with the media hence the desire of the CDS to interface with journalists as critical stakeholders.

According to him, the media is a force multiplier in the effort of the armed forces of Nigeria to win the hearts and mind of the populace. 

“Therefore, your role is critical and noble, always trying to ensure the public support for the military and also boost the moral of our troops while executing our constitutional responsibilities,” he said.

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