The Nigerian Army has described an alleged report that its personnel and that of DSS molested 10 journalists in Benin city as “not correct”.
Col. Sani Usman, the army spokesman, who reacted to the report on Thursday in a statement , said the online media which carried the report “did not get their facts right”.
“It is important to state that sequel to the prevailing security situation in the state which led to the postponement of the earlier scheduled gubernatorial election in Edo, there were credible security reports that some unpatriotic persons have hired hoodlums with the intention of causing mayhem during the election.
“The reports further showed that the suspected hoodlums have been lodged in some hotels within Benin city and its environs.
“Acting on this, the DSS in conjunction with troops of 4 Brigade Nigerian Army carried out cordon and search operations in the suspected areas,” Usman said.
He explained that the operation led to the arrest of 10 suspected persons in one of the hotels, including a deserted soldier.
“It is pertinent to state that none of the arrested suspects identified himself as a journalist or mention the media he reports for, contrary to the allegations of the online media,” he said.
Usman said that a number of incriminating items, including INEC sensitive materials were recovered from the suspects.
“That notwithstanding, all the suspects were treated humanely and in the most dignified manner which has always been in accordance with our Code of Conduct and the tradition.
“Therefore, none of them was molested at all during the operation and subsequent handing over to the relevant security agency.
“We wish to reiterate the position of the present leadership of the Nigerian Army under the command of Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai which has zero tolerance for such unprofessional and unethical conduct such as harassment and molestation of innocent citizens,” he said.
The army spokesman said that the army would always conduct itself professionally and responsibly in all its operations.
He advised journalists to always cross check their facts before going to press.