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Army justifies ex-Defence director’s invitation after linking Buhari aides to insurgency

By Monsurudeen Olowoopejo

The Nigerian Defence Agency (DIA) has denied that it declared a former Deputy Director of the agency, Navy Commodore Kunle Olawunmi (retd) wanted over an interview he granted and faulted President Muhammadu Buhari and the Service Chiefs strategy as well as linking the Presidency to the sponsors of insurgency, banditry and others.

DIA said that, contrary to reports making the rounds, the retired military officer was only invited for consultation on the best strategy that could be adopted to end insurgency and other criminalities that had forced many to flee their homes and others dead.

The agency noted that considering the challenges confronting Nigeria, the country requires the retired military officers’ views on matters of defence and national security.

Olawunmi, had during an explosive interview recently alleged that some Boko Haram sponsors were still in the Buhari’s government and that nothing had been done to them.

The ex-director further alleged that Buhari has a plan to turn Nigeria into an Islamic nation, adding that some governors and senators were among those sponsoring Boko Haram.

Explaining the rationale behind his invitation, Director Defence Information, Major General Benjamin Sawyerr, on Saturday, stressed that the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) was only interested in tapping from his wealth of experience.

He said: “It is gratifying to state that the retired military officer who is on the military reserve list was only invited via SMS and voice by DIA to further furnish the AFN with relevant and pressing security information which he may be opportune to have knowledge of as a Professor of Global Security Studies.

“The said proposed meeting between DIA and the retired senior Navy officer was intended to get credible tips on boosting the fight against terrorism/insurgency, banditry and sundry crimes. He was not asked to come along with his international passport.

“In this regard, I wish to use this medium to encourage the retired senior officer to come forward to give valuable information to the military authorities as a patriotic citizen who has served meritoriously in various capacities in the Nigerian Navy before retirement.

“The general public should please note that the AFN is a professional entity that will continue to be responsive to all credible information that will promote peace and unity of our dear country”, he added.

Through a statement released and made available to The Guild, Sawyerr recalled that the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Lucky Irabor, had just completed his tour of the 6 Geo-Political Zones where he interacted with retired military officers with a view to rallying them to lend their support to the Armed Forces of Nigeria.

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