By Anthony Ogbonna
The Nigerian army has denied any interference in the just concluded elections in Rivers state.
The army also described as baseless and totally false, a report in an online section alleging it interfered with the elections in Rivers state.
In a statement by the Acting Director Army Public Relations, SAGIR MUSA (Colonel), the army drew the attentions of the public to what it described as “ mischievous activities of some selfish individuals who recruited thugs dressed in military uniform and armed to harass and intimidate their opponents.”
It also said that it’s various intelligence reports showed that “hoodlums dressed in military fatigue snatched ballot boxes and other electoral materials. Some INEC staff were reportedly abducted.”
The army, however, assured the people that it will remain apolitical, neutral and professional in the conduct of the 2019 general election.
It also said that as a noble institution, that it “hereby, reassure members of the public of its determination to deal with any of its personnel whose actions fall foul of the law.”
The statement reads thus:
“The attention of the Nigerian Army (NA) has been drawn to a publication by an online medium that reported accusation against the NA of interference in the Rivers State elections.
The NA wishes to state that the statement is totally baseless, untrue and therefore capable of misleading unsuspecting members of the public, especially when there is no credible record of such involvement anywhere in Nigeria before, during and after the 2019 elections.
The NA, as a responsible organisation, wishes to debunk such misrepresentation in order to set the record straight. Similarly, it is on record that the NA has been globally applauded by many individuals, foreign and local elections’ observers for its sacrifices/roles in creating an enabling environment for a secure, transparent and peaceful conduct of the elections.
The NA has also drawn the attention of the public to mischievous activities of some selfish individuals who recruited thugs dressed in military uniform and armed to harass and intimidate their opponents. In some cases, as reported, and as indicated in various intelligence reports, – hoodlums dressed in military fatigue snatched ballot boxes and other electoral materials. Some INEC staff were reportedly abducted.
The NA, for the umpteenth time, reiterates that it will remain apolitical, neutral and professional in the conduct of the 2019 general election and in all its assigned roles across the nation in line with the directive of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. TY Buratai.
The NA has made it clear that its only interest and role in the entire electioneering processes is purely to assist civil authority and the Nigerian Police to have a secure and peaceful conduct of the elections.
Foreign interests are therefore enjoined to be mindful of interfering in our national internal affairs especially when there is no credible evidence. Any allegation against the NA must be confirmed from appropriate quarters before jumping to conclusions.
Members of the public are further assured of the determination of the NA to objectively carry out its constitutional duties irrespective of the baseless accusations, especially from those who felt it has denied them freedom to illegally and selfishly subvert the choice of Nigerians.
As a noble institution, the NA, hereby, reassure members of the public of its determination to deal with any of its personnel whose actions fall foul of the law.”