Why we’re involved in elections – Military

Chief of Defence Staff, Abayomi Gabriel Olonishakin
Chief of Defence Staff, Abayomi Gabriel Olonishakin

The Defence Headquarters reiterated on Friday that the role of the Armed Forces in the ongoing elections is to support the police in providing security for voters to exercise their franchise.

The Governorship and House of Assemblies elections, as well as the Area Councils elections in the Federal Capital Territory are scheduled to hold on Saturday.

Briefing journalists in Abuja ahead of the elections, Onyema Nwachukwu, a colonel and acting Director of Defence Information (DDI), said the military’s role in election is contained in Section 271 of the 1999 constitution.

The section stipulates that the military can be deployed to “assist the police in maintenance of law and order during elections.’’

He said: “In carrying out this onerous task, the Armed Forces of Nigeria is guided by the code of conduct and rules of engagement that have been provided for military personnel deployed to maintain security during elections.

“We assure Nigerians that in tandem with our mandate, we will continue to compliment and support the efforts of the Nigerian Police in ensuring that all 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.’’

Mr Nwachukwu restated the Chief of Defence Staff’s (CDS), Abayomi Olonisakin directive that personnel had the right to vote during the ongoing elections, but must approach polling units in mufti.

“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 military justice system,’’ the CDS had said.

Mr Nwachukwu reminded commanders to ensure that sanity prevailed in their areas of responsibility.

He said their assigned tasks apart from ensuring security include the arrest of personnel in uniform but not on election duty, adding that civilians caught in uniform would be treated as impostor.

On soldiers killed by suspected political thugs in some states during the February 23 elections, the DDI said the military would not carry out reprisal attacks.

“In spite of the unfortunate attacks on our personnel by political hoodlums during the last elections, the armed forces of Nigeria, as a professional and reputable institution wishes to reassure the public that no reprisal attack will be carried out by military personnel, unit or formation.’’

He commiserated with the families of the deceased soldiers, saying that no one, including military, civilians, electoral officers or observers deserved to die for elections.


RIPAN Campaign AD

The DDI appealed to politicians and their supporters to embrace peace and conduct themselves within the ambit of the law.

“The Defence Headquarters solicits the support and cooperation of Nigerians and the media toward the sustenance of peace and security before, during and after the elections,’’ he said.


Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility

Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.

For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.

By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.


NEVER MISS A THING AGAIN! Subscribe to our newsletter

* indicates required


Now available on

  Premium Times Android mobile applicationPremium Times iOS mobile applicationPremium Times blackberry mobile applicationPremium Times windows mobile application

TEXT AD: This space is available for a Text_Ad.. Call Willie on +2347088095401 for more information

All rights reserved. This material and any other material on this platform may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, written or distributed in full or in part, without written permission from PREMIUM TIMES.