By Daudu Huleji Emmanuel
The Nigerian Military and the Police said it would maintain a high level of ethical conduct in the re-run polls come Saturday. This was said in a joint Press briefing held at Abuja at the Army headquarters on Thursday March 21.
It could be recall that some unfortunate security challenges were witnessed during the last general elections which have generated public outcry and condemnation. The alleged involvement of some security agents in some of these unfortunate incidents is of serious concern to the military and police high commands.
“Appreciating the fact that some of these issues may be as a result of the overzealousness of some personnel, it is instructive to note that some of these incidents were instances of impersonation by political thugs clad in military and police uniforms. It would be recalled that sometime ago a container load of military uniforms was impounded by the Nigeria Customs Service along Aba-Port-Harcourt road, while similar interception was made at Kirikiri Lighter Terminal in Lagos. Also, prior to the elections there were intelligence reports of some politicians clandestinely procuring uniforms of security agencies for political thugs for the purpose of impersonating security personnel during the elections. This information was later corroborated with the arrest of several fake soldiers and fake policemen during the last elections”, the statement reads.
Speaking further, the Directorate of Defence Information Sagir Musa said in Imo state, the military in a joint operation with the police arrested over 100 suspected political thugs who are now with the police undergoing investigation.
However he acknowledged the fact that not all the imposters were apprehended.
“It is imperative to state that, not all of these impostors were apprehended by security agencies. Therefore, the Nigeria police, the military and other security agencies are working assiduously to fish out these criminal elements and bring them to book. We therefore appeal to the general public to volunteer useful information to aid security agencies in this regard.
“We assure the general public that investigation is ongoing on security personnel who might have conducted themselves inappropriately during the last elections and appropriate sanctions will be meted out to those found culpable. However, it may be too early and too premature to apportion blames and out- rightly indict anyone or group before exhaustive investigations are concluded. Particularly we want to single out the alleged encroachment of INEC collation centre in Rivers State reportedly by some soldiers. This is considerably a very serious matter and of concern to the military as well as the police top hierarchy. Consequently, the military and the police high commands have ordered a thorough investigation of this incident and other isolated cases. Already, several of the video footages that are in circulation on social and online media platforms have been compiled to assist in the investigations.
“It is also expedient to use this opportunity to address and allay fears from certain quarters that have criticized military deployment in some states of the federation during the elections. It is noteworthy to recall here, that the military had all along been deployed in some of those states due to ongoing Internal Security Operations. Such Operations include Operation DELTA SAFE in the Niger Delta, Operation WHIRL PUNCH in Benue, Taraba and Nasarawa states, Operation SAFE HAVEN in Plateau and Operation SHARAN DAJI in Zamfara and Kebbi states just to mention a few. Additionally, threat analysis conducted in those states prior to the elections identified them as flash points for electoral violence hence, the need for extra security deployment”, he added.
Affirming Nigerians trust on the Nigeria Forces he said transparency and accountability in the conduct of Nigerian Army (NA) personnel deployed for election security duties during the re-run polls shall be put on watch and an investigation committee comprising senior military officers, headed by Major General Tari-Timiye Gagariga to investigate all allegations of misconduct against Nigeria Army personnel during the elections.