Army denies alleged misconduct against soldiers
The Nigerian Army has dismissed a report that some of its senior officers were partisan during the February 25 presidential and National Assembly polls.
A media report (not by The PUNCH) had claimed that the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, conspired with a military General who ordered the deployment of troops to some locations in Lagos State for the election to be rigged in favour of the Labour Party.
In a swift reaction on Monday, the Director, Army Public Relations, Brig. Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, said some interest groups that the service prevented from influencing the elections through violence were behind the report.
It partly read, “The attention of the Nigerian Army has been drawn to a deliberately calculated smear campaign in the social media and other fora against some of our senior commanders and officers. While these unconscionable acts are inexplicable, the motivations behind them are not far-fetched.
“In the just concluded presidential and National Assembly elections, officers and men of the Nigerian Army adopted a firm and resolute stance in providing security support for the elections in a manner that effectively curbed and prevented ill-intentioned groups from violently interfering with the process. There is no doubt that Nigerians are excited about this responsible posture and the democratic opportunity it offers them.
“However, some interest groups that were effectively prevented from hatching their nefarious plots to influence the course of the elections through violence are understandably piqued by this assertiveness of the Nigerian Army.”
Onyema added that the service would continue to play its roles during elections as required by the constitution.
“As constitutionally conceived, the Nigerian Army is nationalistic in its make-up and organisation, drawing strengths from the diversities in our great nation. Our responsibilities, so far as elections are concerned, remain those of providing support to primary law enforcement and stakeholders in the electioneering process towards ensuring that Nigerians are allowed to choose their leaders and representatives in a peaceful manner.
“This goal remains our only focus and one we will continue to pursue, mindful that the average citizen expects nothing less from his army,” it further stated.
“The Army Headquarters wishes to assure the public that any misconduct against any of its personnel would be responsibly investigated, and any subsequent substantiation would attract the appropriate disciplinary sanctions in accordance with established practices and extant laws.
“In the same vein, it should equally be appreciated that the character and reputation of a senior officer earned over three decades of meritorious service cannot be allowed to be destroyed by misguided elements through mere speculation. The resort to the sentiments of ethnic and religious colourations would not also diminish the Nigerian Army’s resolve to carry on its roles professionally,” the statement added.