Posted by By JAMES OJO, Abuja on
The last may not have been heard of the outburst of former Chief of Army, Lt. General Victor Malu about his regret for not toppling President Olusegun Obasanjo, as one of his predecessors, Lt. General Salihu Ibrahim Tuesday expressed worry that such unguarded statement was capable of igniting restiveness in the army.
The last may not have been heard of the outburst of former Chief of Army, Lt. General Victor Malu about his regret for not toppling President Olusegun Obasanjo, as one of his predecessors, Lt. General Salihu Ibrahim Tuesday expressed worry that such unguarded statement was capable of igniting restiveness in the army. Also, the coalition of Nigerian Youth Leaders described the statement as uncalled for and unwarranted.
General Ibrahim, a member of the First Regular Course of the prestigious Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), said that the statement made by General Malu was nothing but a treasonable act punishable under the Armed Forces Decree 105 of 1993 as amended in 2001, which is binding on Malu even as a retired soldier.
General Malu at the gathering of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) in Kaduna reportedly lamented that he regretted not toppling Obasanjo when he was Army boss.
Speaking with journalists, General Ibrahim said that such statement, coming from a former head of the army, portends serious threat to democracy.
Said he: “An intention to do a thing before one is able to do it is such that one can also be held culpable. If one expresses intention, particularly in a very serious matter such as the one he discussed, it could attract heavy sanction. You are aware in our history of crisis in this country, people have lost their lives merely by association not even talking, making known an intention.”
Expressing his worry about the fallout of Malu’s outburst, Ibrahim said that he foresees an ugly development of serving officers being incited to follow the infamous path of violent change of government.
“I do see the possibility of serving officers being incited. The possibility is there that if he said that in the open, he could do some other things behind closed doors unknown to you and me.”
General Ibrahim noted, however, that under democracy, there is freedom of speech, but stressed that there should be a limit. “ Although in a democratic dispensation, you are allowed to air your view, but only within a parameter, and I think he has spilled over the acceptable parameter and he should be brought to question. The act has not been committed, but the intention seems to have been voiced out and I am worried.”
When asked about the type of training received at the NDA, General Ibrahim, who was the army chief under the regime of military President Ibrahim Babangida, stated that General Malu, a member of the 3rd Regular Course should be seen as one of the indisciplined officers that was turned out from the NDA.
“I want us to see him as one odd fellow among those that NDA has turned out and sympathize with him for not imbibing completely the discipline that the service has been noted for and that NDA has imparted into almost every cadet that passed through it,” he added.
Ibrahim said that former Chiefs of Army Staff were expected to exercise great circumspection and restraint in utterances in order not to send wrong signals to colleagues that are still in active service.
“The office of the commander-in-chief remains hallowed for officers while in active service or in retirement,” he said, adding that to come out openly to explain why he disagreed with the C-I-C was strange to military tradition, which he said should be condemned by all.
“As a product of NDA, Lt General Malu should avoid utterances that could harm the sensibility, the ethics and tradition of this noble institution. They look up to him as a mentor, a senior role model and inspiration. Let it not be said that an officer could take on seniors and his peers so abusively and does not suffer sanction. Should that happen, the military edifice built on hierarchy would collapse like a pack of cards. Lt General Victor Malu owes the military, the office of the commander-in-chief and the nation a recant, a withdrawal of his utterances and an apology,” he suggested.
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