The Nigerian Army has talked about why it detained Lance Corporal Musa Adamu.
The Army said it detained Adamu, a soldier with the Amphibious Training School, Calabar, Cross River State, for violating some provisions of the Armed Forces Act and not because he changed his faith.
The Army made the clarification in a statement by the Director of Army Public Relations, Brig.-Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu.
An online media had published that Adamu had been detained for 45 days and his bank account frozen by the Army authorities for preaching about Jesus Christ while in service uniform on social media, some days after converting to Christianity.
But the statement described the publication as libelous and “not only a misrepresentation of the true situation but an outrageous falsehood tainted with religious bigotry,” which it said was capable of causing disaffection amongst personnel and bringing disrepute and distractions to the army from its trajectory of discharging its constitutional mandate.
The statement reads: “To set the records straight, Lance Corporal Musa Adamu, a personnel of the Amphibious Training School was attached to 63 Brigade to participate 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.
“It must be clarified, that once a personnel is absent from his unit for 7 days without any justification, he will be declared AWOL. This automatically triggers the freezing of his salary account, until the personnel returns to the unit and is arraigned and sanctioned.”
“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.
“The Nigerian Army will not be hesitant to state that it is guided by ethics, traditions, and military laws, which direct personnel on their conduct. Violation of these ideals and statutory stipulations evoke sanctions, irrespective of the faith of the offender.”