Disruption of polls won’t be tolerated, COAS warns


THOSE plotting to disrupt the forthcoming elections yesterday got the yellow card from the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai.

He warned that the military will deal decisively with local and foreign elements who try to subvert the polls billed for February 16 and March 2.

The COAS, however, warned personnel to remain apolitical and professionally responsive in the discharge of their constitutional duties, especially during the elections.

According to Lt. Gen. Buratai, the Army has received information about plans by some unpatriotic groups within the country alongside some foreign collaborators to scuttle the peaceful conducts of the coming elections in some parts of the country.

The COAS flashed the yellow card at the opening of the Chief of Army Staff Operations Conference at the Army Headquarters Command Mess, Abuja.

Lt. Gen Buratai said: “Let me at this point state that we have information of subversive motives by some unpatriotic groups aided by foreign conspirators to scuttle the peaceful conduct of the 2019 General Elections in some parts of the country.

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“We hereby warn such detractors to immediately mend their ways. The Nigerian Army is working closely with the Nigeria Police and other security agencies to ensure an enabling environment for the good citizens of our dear country to exercise their civic rights.

“In this regard, GOCs and field Commanders at all levels are to deal decisively with any form of security breach.”

The COAS, who warned participants at the conference which comprise of General Officers Commanding, (GOC) Principal Staff Officers (PSO) and selected Commanders, said any army personnel who take side with any candidate or political party during the elections would be shown the way out of the service.

He: “Over the past one year, I have given very clear directives on the posture the Nigerian Army (NA) should adopt during the 2019 general elections. The need for the NA to remain apolitical and professionally responsive in the discharge of its constitutional roles has been stressed. All NA personnel must remain neutral, non-partisan and transparent in all their actions.

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“I need to reiterate that there will be zero-tolerance for any action and in-action by commanders at all levels that is deemed tilted towards giving undue advantage to any candidate, political party, ethnic or religious leanings to the detriment of the unity and integrity of Nigeria.

“This includes knowingly or unknowingly receiving any form of inducement from politicians or other entities, be it public or private. GOCs and Field Commanders at all levels are to warn all officers and soldiers under their command to remain forthright and not in any way deviate from the professional ethics of the Nigerian Army.

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“I urge you all to remind officers and soldiers under command to be guided by the stipulated Code of Conduct and rules of engagement in the discharge of their duties during the Elections.

“We will all recall some of the events of the 2015 general elections which subsequently led to the sad exit of some fine officers, who were found culpable. I therefore enjoin you all to impress on your personnel to avoid a repeat of such occurrences.”

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