DHQ restates army’s role in elections
The statement followed allegations by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that the military was working with the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to rig the polls.
Acting Director, Defence Information, Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, disclosed this yesterday during a media briefing on today’s governorship and state assembly elections.
He stated that the military’s role during polls is enshrined in Section 217 of the 1999 Constitution, which stipulates that it could be deployed to assist the police in maintenance of law and order during elections.
Nwachukwu stated that in carrying out this task, the army is guided by the Code of Conduct and Rules of Engagement (ROE) provided for military personnel deployed to maintain security during elections.
He said, “It is crucial to re-emphasise the directive of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Abayomi Olonisakin, that while military personnel have the right to perform their civic duty of voting as provided in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, they must approach their polling units in civilian clothing, devoid of any military accoutrements.
“Additionally, 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.”
According to him, all military commanders have been tasked to ensure that sanity prevails in their respective areas of responsibility.
While commiserating with the families of those who lost their lives during the presidential and national assembly elections, Nwachukwu said “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 DHQ, therefore, urges all politicians and their supporters to embrace peace and conduct themselves within the ambit of the law,” he stated.
He called on all Nigerians, particularly the media, to support the military in the sustenance of peace and security before, during and after the elections.
“We also enjoin members of the public to report any suspicious person or activity likely to undermine the security of our nation to security agencies for prompt action.”
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