The Nigerian Army said on Wednesday that its troops are on standby in Abuja, ready to move in against members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (Shiites), who have been carrying out persistent violent protests in the Federal Capital Territory over the continued detention of their spiritual leader, Sheikh El-Zakzaky by the federal government.
Commander, Guards Brigade, Brigadier General Umar Tama Musa who stated this at the closing ceremony of the Corporal and Below Arms Drill and Endurance Competition in Abuja, noted however that the protests and violence of the Shiites have been properly handled by the Police whose responsibility it is to checkmate their excesses.
He however stated that if the members of the IMN go beyond their bounds and become a threat to the peace and security of the FCT, troops of Guards Brigade would swoop on them.
It would be recalled that members of the IMN only on Monday, carried out the most violent of their protest for the release of El-Zakzaky at the premises of the Federal Secretariat on Monday, seriously injuring the DPO, SP Linus Ogar by beating him to pulp while two other police officers including a female officer escaped a gunshot at the Police station.
They however sustained serious injuries leading to the female officer being operated upon at the Garki General Hospital to remove shrapnel’s from her leg and hand.
Brig-General Musa said, “It is true that the activities of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, particularly in the FCT have been on the high and this is because their leader is being held by the DSS in connection with charges against him”.
“Yes we have the responsibility of providing security for Mr. President, his family and the FCT and environs. But as it is now, the ambit of the issue is within the purview of the Police and the Police have handled the situation well.
“The Guards Brigade is watching the developments very closely and our troops are on standby in case the situation gets out of hand.
“So far, the activities of the Shiites have not posed a threat of the security of lives and property in the FCT. The Police have been up to the task so there is no cause to worry”.
On the Corporal below competition, Brig-General Umar said the completion which featured Weapons Handling, Drills, Obstacle Crossing, proficiency in skills and Map Reading among others is aimed at inculcating professionalism, knowledge and endurance aspect of the military on the troops.
“The competition is not just about winners and losers, it is to build leadership traits, discipline, espirit-de-corps, and I want to urge you all to ensure commitment to your duties, especially the protection of Mr. President, his family as well as the FCT and environs”, he said.
The Commander expressed satisfaction with the performance of the troops during the competition saying that though the competition was scheduled for only 3 days because of the tight schedule of the Brigade, he did not expect anything less than the creditable troop’s performance of the troops.
Participating troops were drawn from the 7 Guards Battalion, the 102 Guards Battalion, 176 Guards Battalion, the 177 Guards Battalion, and the Guards Brigade Garrison.
At the end of the 3-day exercise, 177 Guards Battalion came out tops with 346.4 points.
Second was 176 Guards Battalion with 324.8 points while third position went to Guards Brigade Garrison with 320.5 points,
Fourth position went to 7 Guards Battalion with 312.7 points and fifth position went to 102 Guards Battalion with 304. 2 points.