The Federal Government has denied that the military was running a secret abortion service involving female officers and men.
Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, made the rebuttal at a news conference in Abuja in response to report by a foreign news agency report that no fewer than 10,000 female military operatives were subjected to forced abortions by the military.
Mohammed, who described the report as concocted, wondered how the news agency arrived at the figure after reportedly speaking with 33 persons and relying on “unidentified sources” only as the basis for the story.
The minister said: “As you are all aware, an international news agency recently reported that the Nigerian military, in their fight against BokoHaram/ISWAP, has been running a secret, systematic and illegal abortion programme in the North East, ostensibly, according to the news agency because ‘the children of insurgents are predestined, by the blood in their veins, to one day take up arms against the Nigerian government and society.’
“The story also claimed that 10,000 such abortions have been carried out from 2013 to date on women and girls.
“The news agency made this grave allegation without a scintilla of evidence, citing only anonymous sources and the reported review of phantom ‘documents’. The agency claimed that its investigation was based on interviews with 33 women and girls.
“The Federal Government, hereby, categorically states that there is no ‘secret, systematic and illegal abortion programme’ being run by our military in the North East or anywhere across the country. We also, hereby reject the accusation of running an abortion programme levelled at our military. We state categorically that this story is a scary instance of fake news and disinformation combined. The writers deserve an award in fiction writing.
“The question is: what’s the motive of this news agency and the usual suspects, who have latched on to this story? Why is this so-called investigation coming at a time that our heroic men and women in uniform have been recording successes after successes, decimating the terrorists, rescuing abducted persons and receiving hundreds of thousands of terrorists who have surrendered?
“For the record, the Nigerian military has rescued 11 Chibok girls with all their children, 2,018 other persons (comprising 339 adult males, 660 adult females and 1019 children), while 82,645 persons, comprising 16,621 male fighters, 24,638 women and 41,386 children, have surrendered.”
“The military has also neutralized 494 terrorists, note that this does not include terrorists neutralized through airstrikes and terrorists’ infighting. Why is this news agency not playing up these positive news, but instead chose to give prominence to a phantom abortion story? Is this a ploy to demoralize and distract our fighting forces? Is it a strategy toset the world against Nigeria and cut off the support that is critical to crushing terrorists? Only the news agency can answer these questions.
“But we stand by our military, which has served meritoriously at home, and at regional and global peacekeeping operations from 1960 to date. We know that military operations in the North East are not arbitrary but based on the military’s Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) and Rules of Engagement (ROE), among others.”