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Chief of Defence Staff Defends Arrests of Suspects, Dismisses Critics as Ignorant



In response to criticism, Gen. Christopher Musa, the Chief of Defence Staff, reiterated that the military’s actions in arresting and questioning suspects connected to the deaths of 17 military personnel in Okuama community, Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta State, were within legal boundaries.

He emphasized that the military is authorized to conduct arrests and investigations during joint operations, citing a mandate from President Bola Tinubu to apprehend the perpetrators and recover weapons.

Musa addressed these issues during an appearance on Arise News.

Regarding assertions that the military lacked the power to detain and try suspects, human rights lawyer Femi Falana (SAN) argued that murder is not a military offense and that civilian suspects should be handled by the police. Falana referenced a legal case involving the Nigerian Army.

Former Director of the Department of State Services, Mike Ejiofor, also pointed out that the Nigerian Army’s involvement in the investigation raised concerns as it was seen as a conflict of interest.

Musa defended the military’s actions, stating that they were acting lawfully and permitted to arrest and interrogate suspects as part of their operational mandate.

He explained that the attack on his personnel in Delta was a deliberate act by criminals who sought to protect their illegal activities involving pipeline vandalism and oil theft in the region. The perpetrators took advantage of the unarmed status of the military officers.

Describing the military’s response as measured, Musa emphasized the goal of recovering weapons and apprehending those responsible for the heinous attack.

He highlighted the need to thoroughly search the community to eliminate any remaining weapons and ensure the safety of residents.

Musa concluded by affirming that the military’s presence in the community was solely in response to the attack on its personnel, emphasizing the importance of maintaining peace and security in Nigeria.