By Philip Nwosu
The Nigerian Army at the weekend said it would ruthlessly punish any of its personnel found to be involved in any electoral malpractice during the February 2019 general election.
Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, disclosed this during his visit to the Nigerian Army Corps of Signals in Lagos to inaugurate some buildings while also attending the corps’ reunion, which ended Saturday.
Buratai, who was represented by the Chief of Logistics, Major General Enobong Udoh, said all personnel must remain professional and apolitical during the coming elections.
He said: “All officers and soldiers must remain apolitical and exhibit exceptional professionalism in the forthcoming tasks. You must report any unwholesome activities up the chain of command once it is beyond your powers of command.
“The full weight of the Armed Forces Act will be visited on any personnel found culpable of committing any electoral malpractice.”
Buratai said that the army would continue to provide military aid to civilian authorities to guarantee security of the nation and “will support the Independent National Electoral Commission, the Nigeria Police and other security agencies in concluding a successful election.’’
While inaugurating the new quarters for officers and senior non-commissioned officers, Buratai said he remained committed to providing infrastructure to motivate personnel.
“This is a further validation of my vision of providing the necessary resources and infrastructure to motivate Nigerian Army personnel in the discharge of their professional duties.
“As you are aware, the Nigerian Army and, indeed, the nation are beset by a plethora of security challenges that have tasked our resources, ingenuity and resilience.
“Despite these, the welfare of troops remains a priority in all my considerations and actions. My conviction is that a well motivated force, even with scare resources, can vanquish any external or internal foe.’’
He pledged to undertake infrastructure projects in all army barracks to enhance the working and living conditions of officers and men, saying, “For the officers and soldiers that would occupy the new blocks, you are enjoined to maintain these properties as you would your personal property.
“You must maintain the highest standard of general hygiene and the internal and external aesthetic of these buildings.”
He commended all the officers and men of Nigerian Army Signals Corps for their excellent professionalism in providing reliable and robust communication support to ongoing Nigerian Army operations, particularly, Operation Lafiya Dole.
He urged them to do their jobs diligently as their “static and mobile communication platforms have greatly served as force multipliers in our operations against the various terrorist and criminal threats facing the country.
“It has also facilitated my command and control of the entire Nigerian Army. For the first time in the history of the Nigerian Army operations, the usual recourse to blame communications support for unsuccessful operations is no longer tenable.’’
Earlier, the Commander, Nigerian Army Signals, Maj.-Gen. Clement Olukoju, said that the newly constructed six blocks of flats consisted of two blocks for officers and four for senior non-commissioned officers.
The event was attended by retired and serving military senior officers, including the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin.