Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, has warned Army personnel to steer clear from politics, especially as 2019 elections draw near.
Buratai spoke when he declared open the 18th Conflict Management and Peace Support Seminar of the Nigerian Army College of Logistics (NACOL), in Lagos.
He urged commanders of the force, at all levels, to provide the requisite leadership and ensure their personnel are reminded to uphold military professionalism.
The army chief, who was represented by the Chief of Army Standard and Evaluation, Major General Adekunle Shodunke, said: “Commanders, at all levels, must ensure their personnel, are apolitical, uphold the tenets of military professionalism and be guided by the provision of the constitution.”
He decried the clash between herdsmen and farmers in the Middle Belt areas of the country and assured that the army willcontinue to play its role in resolving the conflict and put in place measures for the safe return of displaced farmers to their homes and farmlands.
Buratai said the army would continue to uphold the tenets of democracy, comply with rule of engagement and code of conduct during any military assistance to civil authority.
While lamenting the herdsmen and farmers clash in the North Central and North Western parts of the country, Buratai said: “These violent acts are not only undermining the capability of the government to protect its citizens, but has the tendency to affect food security in the country.
He said the various security challenges confronting the country, such as Boko Haram insurgency in the North East, militancy in the Niger Delta region, kidnapping for ransom, cattle rustling and armed robbery have continually put the force on its toes. He, however, said the synergy between the army and other security agencies has facilitated prompt intelligence sharing, which led to recent successes recorded in operations Ex Ayem Akpatuma, Ex Sharan Daji and Coin, against Boko Haram.
Earlier, Commandant of NACOL, Major General Richard Duru, also lamented the numerous security challenges the country had faced and efforts made by the military and security agencies at containing them. “The seemingly failure of the first line of defence in our internal security architecture has led to overwhelming presence and deployment of the military, virtually in all the 36 states of the federation.”
The dynamics of internal security threats and the mutating nature of the various crises, he noted, led to a complex state of insecurity in the country, pointing out that the spontaneous and marauding nature of the crises compel a responsive strategy in the planning and execution of all IS Operation by the Nigerian Army.
He said Armed Forces personnel, within these crises environment, must be equipped with the needed knowledge and capacity to anticipate, intervene, manage and resolve conflicts, insisting that there is need for the right mix of manpower and competencies, to meet the contemporary security challenges.