The knack by some foreign writers, especially the ones now hiding under the banner of Human Rights Watch to willfully twist facts and deliberately impute ulterior motives all with a view to discrediting Nigeria’s counter-insurgency operation is becoming legendary. For instance, a certain Andrew Stroehlein has written an article in this spirit captioned“40,000 Reasons Why Sri Lanka is No Model for Nigeria”, published in the Human Rights Watch news publication of 16 June 2014 which was widely syndicated to many dailies in Nigeria and abroad. The author tried so desperately to distort the import of interactions between Nigerian Military and visiting Sri-Lanka Military delegation at the Defence Headquarters and the statement that emanated from the event on 12 June 2014.
The statement which conveyed the outcome of the visit and the meeting that Mr Stroehlein chose to misinterpret and use as launch pad to disparage the Nigerian Military, was explicit enough in stating that Nigeria’s Chief of Defence Staff assured the visitors that “Nigerian Military is seriously considering the counter insurgency experience of Sri Lankan Militarywith a view to identifying those areas that could be operationally beneficial to Nigeria in its battle to defeat terrorism”.
Mr Stroehlein’s sensational article must have been prompted by the misleading reports of some of his like-minded journalists who chose to twist the story of the Sri Lankan visit right from the onset. Obviously, it is only typical for people with Mr Stroehlein’s mindset to trumpet the falsehood as reported especially in some foreign news channels claiming that Nigeria has decided to adopt the Sri Lankan model in the fight against terror.
How else will Mr Andrew Stroehlein and his co-travelers who often shield their bias with the claim of defence of human rights justify their desperation to denigrate and undermine the integrity and sovereignty of other nations? Which other way will their obsession with the illusion of their supremacist positions be made presentable? They simply could not fathom why Nigeria or her military should give a thought to listening to Sri Lanka’s experience in fighting terrorism. To them, Nigeria does not have any reason to look elsewhere in solving her problems other than the prescription from their perspective hence, she must be blackmailed with taunts of unsubstantiated human rights abuse by its military.
The question to ask Mr Stroehlein and his human rights crusaders therefore is; who is actually violating human rights between the Nigerian military which is tirelessly working to protect lives and property, and the terrorists who abduct, kill, maim, loot, rape and commit arson on massive scale against Nigerians? In the interest of those genuinely concerned about Nigeria’s war against terror, the Nigerian military does not have the knack neither has it being duly indicted of human rights abuses as mischievously narrated by Mr Stroehlein in his article.
People with this kind of mindset must be told clearly that Nigeria, in her drive to ensure the best security for the country, have no problem with Nigerian Armed Forces who is duly disposed to partnering with every well-meaning country especially those who demonstrate genuine goodwill and respect towards Nigeria in her effort to secure her territory and people.
Nevertheless, the military remains very conscious of Nigeria’s international commitment especially in the observance of human rights obligations while defending the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. As a responsible and professional force, the Nigerian military will continue to defend the Nigerian people with all the resources at her disposal and will never adopt any approach or model that might compromise that obligation.