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The army’s retirement of two officers over Ekiti, Osun polls

NIGERIAN Army Board of Inquiry constituted to investigate alleged professional misconduct by some officers in the 2015 general elections has returned a punitive recommendation of compulsory retirement of two senior officers. The board also recommended that three officers would lose their command and one other officer will face criminal prosecution for collecting financial gratification. Furthermore, fifteen officers are placed on their watch list and nine other officers are to be further investigated by the EFCC over allegations levelled against them.

Additionally, six officers are to face an audit committee and sixty two officers mostly of the rank of major and below were to be given letters of displeasure and to appear before their respective General Officers Commanding for counselling. These measures arose from the unprofessional and partisan conduct of the affected officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army during the 2015 General elections, as well as the Ekiti and Osun governorship elections . The Army high command had set up the board following petitions received from the public after the polls.

Since the return to civil rule, the role of some personnel of security agencies in maintaining law and order has been unsalutory and sometimes undermines the tenets of democracy. Things have not improved since former President Olusegun Obasanjo initiated the idea of deploying soldiers at elections. The trend continued despite a court ruling against it. Much as we appreciate the need for law and order to be maintained before, during and after elections in the country, we consider it highly reprehensible and a subversion of professional ethics for security agents particularly soldiers to get involved in election matters beyond the boundary prescribed by the call of duty.

That is why we commend the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, who departed from the practices of the past by setting up the board of inquiry rather than exonerate his officers and men when there was unassailable proof of complicity. We also commend the moral courage of the board’s chairman, Major General Adeniyi Oyebade, for the far reaching recommendations made.

We implore other security agencies involved in past elections including the navy, airforce, the Police and Department of State Service operatives to follow the lofty example of the army by investigating allegations against their officers and men. This is desirable because to sustain the nation’s flowering democracy, the military in particular should imbibe the culture of subordinating its officers and men to dictates of civil authority. Their absolute neutrality during elections should never be in doubt. Officers and men who willfully collaborate with politicians to undermine electoral processes are not worthy of their professional callings. Much as we agree that erring officers should be disciplined, we recommend that there should be continuous training and orientation of personnel to be deployed by the military and other security agencies during elections. Those who are perceived to be partisan in their disposition should be excluded from such exercises. Finally we urge the army authorities to painstakingly review the recommendations in line with its legal and administrative procedures because of the grave implications on the career of the affected officers in particular and the Nigerian army in general.

NIGERIAN Army Board of Inquiry constituted to investigate alleged professional misconduct by some officers in the 2015 general elections has returned a punitive recommendation of compulsory retirement of two senior officers. The board also recommended that three officers would lose their command and one other officer will face criminal prosecution for collecting financial gratification. Furthermore, fifteen officers are placed on their watch list and nine other officers are to be further investigated by the EFCC over allegations levelled against them.

Additionally, six officers are to face an audit committee and sixty two officers mostly of the rank of major and below were to be given letters of displeasure and to appear before their respective General Officers Commanding for counselling. These measures arose from the unprofessional and partisan conduct of the affected officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army during the 2015 General elections, as well as the Ekiti and Osun governorship elections . The Army high command had set up the board following petitions received from the public after the polls.

Since the return to civil rule, the role of some personnel of security agencies in maintaining law and order has been unsalutory and sometimes undermines the tenets of democracy. Things have not improved since former President Olusegun Obasanjo initiated the idea of deploying soldiers at elections. The trend continued despite a court ruling against it. Much as we appreciate the need for law and order to be maintained before, during and after elections in the country, we consider it highly reprehensible and a subversion of professional ethics for security agents particularly soldiers to get involved in election matters beyond the boundary prescribed by the call of duty.

That is why we commend the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, who departed from the practices of the past by setting up the board of inquiry rather than exonerate his officers and men when there was unassailable proof of complicity. We also commend the moral courage of the board’s chairman, Major General Adeniyi Oyebade, for the far reaching recommendations made.

We implore other security agencies involved in past elections including the navy, airforce, the Police and Department of State Service operatives to follow the lofty example of the army by investigating allegations against their officers and men. This is desirable because to sustain the nation’s flowering democracy, the military in particular should imbibe the culture of subordinating its officers and men to dictates of civil authority. Their absolute neutrality during elections should never be in doubt. Officers and men who willfully collaborate with politicians to undermine electoral processes are not worthy of their professional callings. Much as we agree that erring officers should be disciplined, we recommend that there should be continuous training and orientation of personnel to be deployed by the military and other security agencies during elections. Those who are perceived to be partisan in their disposition should be excluded from such exercises. Finally we urge the army authorities to painstakingly review the recommendations in line with its legal and administrative procedures because of the grave implications on the career of the affected officers in particular and the Nigerian army in general.


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