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Army Denies Detaining Musa Adamu Over Religious Affiliation

NIGERIAN ARMY SOLDIER NOT DETAINED FOR RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION

Contrary to reports being circulated in the Social Media that a personnel of the Nigerian Army (NA), Lance Corporal Musa Adamu is in detention for converting from Islam to Christianity and preaching the gospel, the reality is that the soldier is in custody for violation of some provisions of the Armed Forces Act.

The awful report credited to Sahara Reporters is not only a misrepresentation of the true situation but an outrageous falsehood tainted with religious bigotry, being peddled against the Nigerian Army; a professional institution guided by well established ethics and tradition in all its activities and administration of personnel. This is aside the unbiased premium of place accorded the spiritual concern and growth of personnel as well as the sensitivity it attaches to religious practices amongst personnel.

To set the records straight, Lance Corporal Musa Adamu, a personnel of the Amphibious Training School was attached to 63 Brigade to partcipate in an ongoing operation, during which he was found preaching in uniform on a social media platform in violation of extant Social Media policy for the Armed Forces of Nigeria. This prompted his invitation for interrogation by relevant authorities. Rather than present himself for the investigation, he absconded for about six and a half months, resulting in the declaration of the soldier on Absence Without Official Leave (AWOL). The action of the personnel violates Section 58 (a) (b) Obstruction of Provost Officers and Section 59 (a) (b) Absence Without Leave.

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It must be clarified, that once a personnel is absent from his unit for 7 days without any justification, he will be declared on AWOL. This automatically triggers the freezing of his salary account, until the personnel returns to unit and is arraigned and sanctioned.

It is equally important to state that contrary to the erroneous impression that the soldier is being victimized for converting from Islam to Christianity and for preaching the gospel, the soldier was rather taken into custody for investigation and in pursuant of statutory provisions enshrined in the Armed Forces Act CAP 20: The Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, which the soldier contravened.
His detention is therefore not unlawful.

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It is expedient to point out, that each and every personnel of the NA functions under a Corps or Department with stipulated statutory responsibilities manned by qualified personnel trained to effectively execute those duties. Hence, religious affairs of the NA are handled by designated clergies in the Directorates of Chaplain Services (Protestant), (Roman Catholic) and Islamic Affairs. Personnel of these Directorates are the ones mandated to conduct all religious activities to cater for the spiritual needs of all personnel of the NA, both in the theatres of operations and within the barracks.

The question begging for answer is, if the NA allowed the soldier to change his religion, why then would the NA victimize him? It is ironical therefore, that an institution that promotes the spiritual wellbeing of its personnel is alleged to have detained the soldier for the expression of his faith, even when it is abundantly clear that he has the opportunity to also change his Corps to any of the Army’s Chaplaincy.

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The NA will not be hesitant to state that it is guided by ethics, traditions and military laws, which direct personnel on their conducts. Violation of these ideals and statutory stipulations evoke sanctions, irrespective of the faith of the offender.

Consequently, the NA denounces the libelous publication capable of causing disaffection amongst personnel as well as bringing disrepute and distractions to the NA from its trajectory of discharging its constitutional mandate to protect the territorial integrity of Nigeria, particularly at this crucial time that it is turning the tide against insurgents and other criminal elements across the country.

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