A group of concerned Nigerians at the weekend alleged high-level plot by some elements to blackmail and distract the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika, from the renewed fight against terrorism in the country.
The group alleged that some disgruntled elements who are not comfortable with the level of re-engineering in the Army by the Ihejirika now accused him of lopsidedness in the recruitment and posting of Army personnel.
A faceless group was quoted to have recently accused the Army Chief of favouring the Igbos in his recruitment and appointments in the army.
But the a group under the umbrella of 'Information for Democracy Development (IDD), in a statement made available to journalists yesterday in Abuja, dismissed the allegation as another plot to distract the Army Chief and mislead the general public on the happenings in the army.
The IDD, in the statement signed by its national coordinator, Mr Joshua Yahaya, described those behind the attack as 'fifth columnists of Boko Haram who are presently feeling the heat of the war against them by the army and so feel that the only way out is to create disaffection within the army itself.
"They may as well be people who have twisted the fact for to mislead members of the public and distract government in the fight against terrorism. Or why is it now that insurgents are at their tether's end that this propaganda is surfacing? The allegations of nepotism against Lt General Ihejirika, coming at this time, are indeed diabolic and a calculated attempt to distract the army leadership from its laudable counter-terrorism campaigns which have already started bearing fruits to the praise of all patriotic Nigerians and the international community.
"We feel, therefore, as patriots to rise to the defense of the army under the present leadership even though we know that the Army Chief is perfectly capable of putting up a better rebuttal himself. We believe that the Nigeria Army of today follows guidelines in its recruitment and promotion. Apart from the principles of quota and federal character, we believe that the army being a professional body must insist on certain minimum qualifications. For example, although we are desirous to build an equitable institution, we needn't sacrifice merit on the altar of expediency.
"In the past we heard of some areas presenting illiterate truck pushers and itinerant shoe-shiners for recruitment all in the name of filling quotas. This practice had been to the detriment of professionalism.
"Lopsidedness in access to public organisations in Nigeria many of the times reflect the lopsidedness in educational attainment by the various zones same as it is reflected in public school enrollment annually. Once ineligible candidates are presented at recruitment points they are screened out not because of their tribe or religion but simply because they do not have the required minimum qualification. In building a virile army, tribe and religion should count for naught beyond the requirement for equitable spread. This has been the reason why some states which did not present qualified candidates lagged behind and not because they were discriminated as the authors of the deceitful and malicious publication tried to portray."