The Defence Headquarters wishes to express its dismay over the newspaper’s publication of Friday, 8 January in which 3000 re-engaged soldiers were alleged to have embarked on hunger strike, simply for not being posted back to their units.
The story was false and not a true reflection of the situation among the affected soldiers. To put the record straight, the soldiers are enthusiastic and full of praises to the military authority that gave them another chance to re-unite with the folk for better services to their fatherland.
It is worrisome that a reputable newspaper of national outlook would source its story from unreliable social media without corroboration with relevant authorities to ascertain the veracity of the news. It is more worrisome when such unsubstantiated story borders on national security. This practice negates the ethics of journalism and is grossly unprofessional. Information that threatens national security should be avoided and efforts should be intensified to confirm from highest authority before going to press. Press should also avoid fuelling tension, no matter the inherent personal gains, especially now that all hands are on deck to unite all Nigerians against insecurity and insurgency.
For avoidance of doubt, it is a taboo for military personnel to embark on strike or to do any of such things the newspaper reported. It has never happened and will not happen because we are disciplined, professional and highly loyal to the constituted authority. Such behaviour could only occur within unprofessional soldiers, and certainly not Nigerian military.
The Director Defence Information therefore restates that his door is widely open, round the clock, for whosoever wishes to clarify issues that border on defence and national security to do so in order to give correct information to our citizens.