The Nigerian Army has been within the eye of the storm over the conduct of troopers deployed to supply safety in the course of the 2019 elections. The troopers have been roundly accused in a number of quarters of committing infractions, together with partisan interference within the electoral course of, that significantly undermined the credibility and sanctity of the elections.
In reality, within the estimation of many observers, each Federal Government and the Army stand condemned over the undue militarisation of the electoral course of.
But it’s an accusation that the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, on this interview with pressmen, dismisses in its entirety.
The navy was accused of aiding in election malpractices like snatching of poll packing containers. Your response? Militarisation needs to be outlined. What do you imply by militarisation?
“How precisely did the navy participate within the elections? Generalisation isn’t the perfect. People simply use the phrase militarisation with out defining it. Was the so-called militarisation in every single place throughout the nation? Why are people making a lot noise about it? They are giving the impression that the navy was concerned in all the course of in the entire nation.
“It is simply in all probability a definition they solely restricted to Lagos or the place? ..Niger-Delta principally, People can not simply use the phrase militarisation typically phrases to say the safety businesses had been concerned.
“Who are the people concerned? What does the Constitution say in regards to the position of the navy? We have the constitutional provision. We have made it very clear; we’re not a part of these elections, we’re solely supporting the police. Anything we do there’s serving to the police who’re representing the civil authority in legislation enforcement and it is extremely clear that we’ve got been referred to as out to help the civil authority. That doesn’t imply militarisation.
“And as soon as we go on the market, we’re performing police position, it’s not a navy position, we’re supporting the police primarily; that could be very clear. The navy was referred to as out to return and help the police. So, they’re simply utilizing the navy as a way to justify their failures, to justify their inadequacies, to justify their lack of ability to rig as a result of the safety forces offered the wanted safety to forestall huge rigging, poll box-snatching and so forth.
“But strictly, the usage of the phrase, militarisation is misplaced, it’s flawed. We had been there to carry out our tasks based mostly on the invitation to help the police which is reliable. There is not any means you’ll say that the election was militarised; it’s misuse of the time period. If actually the election was militarised, I let you know, no one would take the legislation into his fingers the way in which they did openly and intentionally did, even attacking our males, killing our personnel.
“An officer was killed, policemen had been killed so if we had been to take drastic steps to actually present we had been concerned, it might have been worse than this. We had been capable of keep legislation and order; we had been capable of conduct ourselves inside the guidelines of engagement which is reliable.
“So there’s a deliberate false impression or misinterpretation of the position of the navy as a way to malign the navy and discredit it regardless of the stupendous efforts we’ve got made to make sure safety in help of the civil authority.
“And very properly if the safety businesses, together with the navy, had not come out to help the elections in offering safety, the extent of insecurity, the extent of killings, arson, poll box-snatching and so forth, would have been worse than what was skilled. So most of the stakeholders, each at dwelling and overseas, have counseled the navy for remaining impartial, neutral and conducting themselves professionally; however just a few components who felt they weren’t given the possibility to rig and to disturb on an enormous scale the election course of, are those shouting that the entire course of was militarised.
“The navy was not there to help any political get together; we had been there to supply enough safety as requested, in help of the electoral course of. That was primarily what we did. So to say that the method was militarised is a misplaced use of phrase; it’s unlucky. Over the years, from our historic experiences, the outcomes or outcomes of elections have been the main reason behind instability in our polity.
“They have led to plenty of killings, arson, you identify it: in Kaduna, Zangon-Kataf, Modakeke and so many different locations. So traditionally, should you take a look at it, we had these unlucky incidents as a result of they had been allowed to go uncontrolled.
“We had so many underlying factors; even in the First Republic, we saw the underlying factors that led to the civil war; it is the same outcome of elections that led to that, characterised by so many malpractices. So government doesn’t want the same thing to happen and that was why the military was called in to support the police. There is no way we would be partisan; the country’s stability, the country’s peace is our watchword, it is very, very fundamental. Some people just chose to blame different entities and bodies for their failures.”
On the allegation that the troopers caught snatching poll packing containers are faux “Yes, that’s one other dimension as a result of as I stated, these people that didn’t need the election to go easily, created their very own native militia, gave them navy and police uniforms to be transferring out right here and there to misbehave, snatch poll packing containers, to disrupt the electoral course of and so forth. So anybody that sees them will robotically say it’s the navy and that’s utterly at variance with our code of conduct, with our ethics and the way in which we practice our officers and males to make sure they behave professionally; that could be very clear.
“We arrested a number of of them and you could have seen our press releases with photos of the faux troopers, faux policemen, faux safety operatives and so forth. So when you see this, it’s not the Army that created these ones and gave them uniforms; so as a substitute of them to confess their shortcomings and misconduct, they’re protecting their heinous actions/crimes below the guise of militarisation.
“It is so painful, so horrible that they don’t have conscience and proceed in charge the navy for their very own mischievous actions. This is the place the Press must be goal, take a look at it critically. The Army can not go and costume faux people or criminals to go and act on their behalf. We have seen the thugs, the militias; so the place does the navy are available?
“These are very clear. So we have to be reasonable and objective; we are paid by the state to ensure that we defend our country and prevent breakdown of law and order for us to progress; there is no other way. It is very important.”