Armed Forces of Nigeria has denied referring to #EndSARS protesters as subversive elements, explaining that subversive elements were people who would want to derail the cause of the protest.
Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche, made this denial while fielding questions from defence correspondents at the weekly update on military operations across the federation.
Recall that the Army Headquarters in a statement on Wednesday issued a stern warning to those it described as subversive elements and trouble makers, assuring that it remained highly committed to defend the country and her democracy at all cost.
Acting director, Army Public Relations, Colonel Sagir Musa, in the said statement titled ‘Nigerian Army Remains Resolute to the Peace and Stability of the Nation,’ noted that all officers and men were directed never to be distracted by anti-democratic forces and agents of disunity.
Part of the statement noted that “as a responsible and law abiding organisation, the Nigerian Army reaffirms its unalloyed loyalty and commitment to the President, Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari and the constitution of the country.
“The NA hereby warns all subversive elements and trouble makers to desist from such acts as it remains highly committed to defend the country and her democracy at all cost.”
However, while responding to questions on whether the military addressed the protesters of police brutality as subversive elements, General Enenche said: “Sine you have asked here, and Colonel Sagir Musa, the army spokesperson is not here, I will help you out based on my knowledge as a very senior military officer who has been trained for about 35 years now.
“So, if I tell you that I don’t know the meanings of subversive elements, insurgents, criminals, hoodlums and mobs, those things are defined; we know them but we now interpret it in real terms of the situation.
“Because of the mix up, you now want to hear and then quote somebody, otherwise subversive elements are not the same as protesters, those who are protesting are people who are saying that they don’t want this or that, and we all saw the reaction that follows.
“As a member of the public in this regard, we saw it and their demands were met; now who is subversive? Someone who wants to subvert the cause of the protesters or the group or society. Now before me and you, you know for every of such, you have people who want to take advantage of the genuine cause so that is it; quote me if you want to but…
“What is the meaning of subversion? I will say that the subversive elements are people who will want to derail the cause of the protest. And who are those people? You will agree with me that they are those who are out for destruction.”
On the military operations in the North-West zone, General Enenche said the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies had continued to intensify the operations in their resolve to stamp out banditry and other sundry crimes in the zone.
He concluded that preliminary investigation revealed that the victims were kidnapped while on transit to Magami market from Gusau in a passenger bus, saying all the rescued victims have been reunited with their families.