#TrackNigeria – Nigeria’s Defence Headquarters, DHQ has warned soldiers not on election duties to desist from wearing military uniform on election day. Defence Spokesman, Colonel Onyema Nwachukwu who handed down the warning Friday added that any military personnel who contravenes this order will be promptly arrested.
Colonel Nwachukwu announced the order at a media briefing in Abuja. He said “any military personnel who is not on election security duty found in military uniform on Election Day will be arrested and sanctioned in accordance with the military justice system.”
He reiterating the position of Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin, that military personnel have the right to perform their civic duty of voting as provided in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, but they must approach their polling units in civilian clothings, devoid of any military accoutrements.
The Defence Spokesman also said “all military Commanders have been tasked to ensure that sanity prevails in their respective Areas of Responsibility. These assigned tasks include arrest of anyone in military uniform who is not on election security duty on the Election Day. Likewise, any civilian caught in military uniform will be treated as an impostor”
Furthermore, the military defended its role during elections. Nwachukwu said “that the role of the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) in the on-going elections is to support the Nigeria Police in ensuring that Nigerians are able to perform their civic obligations in a peaceful and secured environment. Let me also add that this role is enshrined in Section 217 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended, which stipulates that the AFN could be deployed to assist the Nigeria Police in maintenance of law and order during elections. In carrying out this onerous task, the AFN is guided by the Code of Conduct and Rules of Engagement (ROE) that have been provided for military personnel deployed to maintain security during elections.”
The military also commiserated with the families of those who lost their lives during the last Presidential and National Assembly elections. “It is imperative to state that no one deserves to lose his or her life during elections, be it personnel of security agencies, civilians, electoral officials or observers, both local and international. The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) therefore urges all politicians and their supporters to embrace peace and conduct themselves within the ambit of the law, ”Nwachukwu said.
He added that “In order to guarantee prompt response to security challenges in any part of the country, the DHQ and the Services Headquarters established Situation Rooms where security situations are monitored across the nation during the elections. This is also to further ensure compliance of AFN personnel to the code of conduct during the elections.
“Despite the unfortunate attacks on our personnel by political hoodlums during the last election, the AFN, as a professional and reputable institution, wishes to reassure the public that no reprisal attack will be carried out by any military personnel, Unit or Formation. We assure all Nigerians that in tandem with our mandate, we will continue to compliment and support the efforts of the Nigerian Police in ensuring that all law abiding citizens of this nation and members of the international community go about their legitimate duties and obligations in an environment devoid of violence and insecurity” the spokesman said.
The DHQ solicited the support and cooperation of all Nigerians and the media toward the sustenance of peace and security before, during and after the elections. The military also enjoined members of the public to report any suspicious person or activities likely to undermine the security of our nation to security agencies for prompt action.