By Johnson Eyiangho
#TrackNigeria: The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, on
Speaking after inaugurating the “situation room”, Buratai said :”we will be able to respond in three to five minutes. Some almost immediately as the situation demands,’’ the army chief said.
He said that time response will be possible because not only because of troops deployment for the exercise, but the fact that army has units and formations across the country.
“We have troops on patrol, we have them on standby and they will be to respond quickly.
“All the formations, the GOCs, Brigade Commanders, we have link to them. We can reach within the shortest possible time.’’
He gave the assurance that the army would work closely with the Police, Department of State Services (DSS), Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and other stakeholders in providing security for the elections.
Earlier, he said the situation room had been “reconfigured for real time monitoring of events during elections.’’
Buratai said that because some of the past elections were characterised by violence, the army saw the need to devise new strategies of stemming such ugly incidents and even completely eliminate them.
He noted that such violence fall into three categories, “pre-election violence; violence during elections and post-election violence.
“Violence at the various phases of elections include thuggery, snatching of ballot boxes and papers or kidnapping or abduction of electoral officers and party agents and wanton destruction of lives and properties.’’
According to him, having observed violence reoccur severally in electioneering processes, the Nigerian army deemed it necessary to adopt a proactive and responsive posture.
He said that posture would enable the army to better respond to early signs of insecurity before they could escalate into a major security challenge.
Buratai also noted the threat fake news and false propaganda pose to both the democratic process and military operations.
He said that the use of media, especially social media to deliberately spread fake news should be a thing of concern to all.
“The rapid spread of fake news has been responsible for misinformation, thereby having an influence on public sentiment and sow confusion among the electorate or even easily ignite violence during the period of the 2019 general elections.’’
He said that in this regard, the Nigerian army through its “Cyber Warfare Command’’ has been continually engaged in monitoring, identifying and countering various forms of fake news and propaganda being put out by terrorists and subversive elements.’’
Buratai said the army would collaborate with the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and other stakeholders to confront the menace of fake news during the elections.
Buratai, therefore, provided the underlisted dedicated phone lines for the public to report breach of security during the period, as well as misconduct on the part of troops deployed for the exercise.
The numbers are: 07017222225, 09060005290 and 0809990013.
He urged members of the public to utilise the Nigerian Army Information Call Centre short code 193 from any network or the NA iReport platform on https://army.mil.ng. (NAN)