The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai has ordered the Nigerian troops to immediately clamp down the activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to prevent disruption of the forthcoming election in the South East.
Tukur Buratai, who gave this order when he declared open the 2019 first quarter Chief of Army Conference in Abuja on Monday, accused IPOB of planning to disrupt the election.
According to him, activities of IPOB are gaining momentum ahead of the election. Therefore, their excesses must be curtailed immediately.
The army chief also noted that the political clashes in Taraba and a few other states, called for enhanced liaison between commanders, the police and other security agencies.
He said the collaboration was necessary “in order to de-escalate tension as quickly as possible.’’
Buratai restated that there were intelligence reports on “subversive motives by some unpatriotic groups aided by foreign conspirators to scuttle the peaceful conduct of the election in some parts of the country.’’
He warned such detractors to immediately mend their ways.
“The Nigerian Army is working closely with the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies to ensure an enabling environment for good citizens of our dear country to exercise their civic rights.
“In this regard, GOCs and field Commanders at all levels are to deal decisively with any form of security breach.’’
On the involvement of officers and soldiers in the conduct of the election, Buratai said he had in the past one year given clear directives on the posture they should adopt during the exercise.
According to him, the need for the Nigerian Army to remain apolitical and professionally responsive in the discharge of its constitutional roles has been stressed.“All personnel must remain neutral, non-partisan and transparent in all their actions. He said:
“I need to reiterate that there will be zero-tolerance for any action and in-action by commanders at all levels that is deemed tilted towards giving undue advantage to any candidate, political party, ethnic or religious leanings to the detriment of the unity and integrity of Nigeria.
“This include knowingly or unknowingly receiving any form of inducement from politicians or other entities, be it public or private.
“GOCs and Field Commanders at all levels are to warn all officers and soldiers under their command to remain forthright and not in any way deviate from the professional ethics of the Nigerian Army.’’
Still, on the election, the army chief said he had issued operational directives for Operation Safe conduct for the general election.
“The Nigerian Army has also produced a Code of Conduct Handbook for personnel to guide them during the election and copies have been distributed to all formations.’’He reminded them of events in the 2015 general election which subsequently led to the “sad exit of some fine officers, who were found culpable.’’
“I, therefore, enjoin you all to impress on your personnel to avoid a repeat of such occurrences,’’ he said, noting that the army’s role in support of the nations’ democracy “cannot be over-emphasised.”