Lucky Irabor, the chief of defence staff, has described an investigation by Reuters on forced abortion for Boko Haram victims as “outright nonsense”.
Irabor said this on Thursday while fielding questions from journalists in Abuja.
In the report published on Wednesday, the Nigerian military was said to have conducted a secret, systematic and illegal abortion programme in the country’s north-east, ending at least 10,000 pregnancies among victims of insurgency.
“It’s outright nonsense. It’s not true. That is outright nonsense. Their allusion is news to me. It never occurred. I never saw anything like that from Maiduguri down to Maimalamari cantonment where I lived. There is a major hospital for our personnel and their family. I am disappointed to say the least. It is not true,” Irabor said.
“I was informed by the director of defence information about a mail from Reuters requesting an interview with me. And he gave me a letter written by one Alexander making allegations that have now been published by Reuters.
“I simply said he should go back to the person and answer their questions, but I’m not going to dignify such a report.
“You’re saying the military, since 2013, has been engaged in a planned abortion programme. And he said that is part of the government’s design. In that letter, he said that 12,000 abortions have been conducted. But in the published report, we saw ‘at least 10,000’.
“The Armed Forces are peopled by people from 774 local government areas of this country. And there is no single unit or formation where you have only a group of soldiers coming from a particular part of the country.
“So, what will be the interest? Sometimes, the consciousness of the people is what has been transmitted to their consciousness. Perhaps, it might be necessary to interrogate them and see how we can reconscientise our people to know that we are in this together.
“What do I stand to gain? Yes, I’m the CDS. I know the officers and men that I lead. I know what we have transmitted into them by the way of training. I know the fundamentals, our ethics. So, what you don’t know that make illusions.
“And I think I will also join to appeal to you, to reconscientise our people for them to know the apparatus of the state in terms of looking at the issue of security for the good of the people and not against the people. We are not against the people.”