2019 Elections: Army Honours Fallen Soldiers, as Buratai Meets GOCs
… to Punish Erring Personnel- Buratai
The Nigerian Army has promised to pay the full monetary entitlements and also accord a national “heroes’ burial” to some of its personnel who were killed during the Presidential and National Assembly (NASS) elections. It also promised to punish erring soldiers who comprised and engaged in professional misconducts.
The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai gave the assurance at the Defense Headquarters in Abuja.
He made the pledge at an intelligence meeting with Principal Staff Officers, General Officers Commanding (GOC), Directors and Heads of various units in the Army.
Buratai disclosed that the professional conduct, and discipline exhibited by the officers and troops of the Army was the reason why widespread violence and acts of hooliganism were non-existent during the first round of elections, held penultimate Saturday.
“It is a statement of fact that the Nigerian Army contributed greatly to the successes recorded during the Presidential and NASS elections. Our officers and men deployed to flash points were very professional in ensuring that peace and orderliness were not breached by political thugs, sponsored by desperate politicians. They assisted and tremendously ensured voters exercise their franchise without intimidation and in an atmosphere of anxiety,” he added.
The Chief of Army Staff, however added that though some of their gallant men were killed during violent clashes by thugs, the morale of the Army remains high and cannot be dampened.
“Unfortunately, some level of violence was still recorded leading to disruption of polls, burning of ballot boxes in some areas as well as loss of lives, including the death of an officer and 3 soldiers. The Nigerian Army to a larger extent ensured that the large scale electoral malpractices and acts of thuggery aimed at disenfranchising voters as witnessed in previous elections were curbed despite the campaign of calumny orchestrated by some politicians against us.”
He assured that the Army’s leadership has already given a marching directive to the effect that the entitlements of the fallen soldiers are quickly paid to their next of kins, saying that, “they will also be accorded a befitting funeral reminiscent of national heroes.”
Buratai also stated that the Army will review their security plans with a view to correcting the lapses that were recorded during the maiden rounds of polls.
His words: “Recent security analyses by our intelligence experts shows that some politicians with invested interests are planing to exploits the religious cards, farmers/herders and spreading of hate speeches on social media, among others, to incite mayhem and foment anarchy. However, the Army will not allow them execute their satanic plots. We will enforce necessary intelligence guidelines in collaboration with the Police and other security agencies to ensure that the forthcoming Gubernatorial and State House of Assemblies elections are also peaceful, credible and transparent.”
On the alleged misconducts of some soldiers, Buratai said: “There have been reports of alleged compromises by some personnel during the elections. We have received complaints from some stakeholders, major political parties, Governors of Bayelsa, Oyo and Ogun States of allegation of misconduct as well as unprofessional conduct by some of our personnel. Unfortunately some other states have gone to the press with unsubstantiated allegation without resort to the NA leadership. Nonetheless, all these complaints are noted and will be addressed appropriately.
“A high powered committee had been convened and instituted to investigate all cases of alleged misconduct by troops arising from the 2019 General Elections. This is aimed at ensuring that all cases are thoroughly looked into for the purpose of dispensation of justice and to uphold Nigerian Army’s credibility, professionalism and apolitical stand.”
He said that the Army’s Security Situation Room will soon be activated to prevent acts of violence prior, during and after the polls.
Buratai, who said that the Army remain apolitical and professional, pointed out that a high-powered Committee has been constituted to look into the alleged cases of professional misconduct and indiscipline by some soldiers during the February 23 elections.
The Chief Army Staff then directed the GOCs to enforce the no-movement restriction and carry out thorough search on vehicles on the day of the Governorship and State Legislators’ elections.
“The GOCs must ensure that their troops are on ground to quell outbreaks of electoral violence. But more importantly, they must eschew taking commands and laws which are inimical to national security, from politicians,” he said.