Elections: Army condemns ‘smear campaign’ against officers

The Nigerian Army has denied a report that some of its senior officers were partisan during the February 25 presidential and National Assembly elections.

The Army said contrary to the “smear campaign”, its officers rather ensured a peaceful election free from interference by ill-motivated groups.

A report by a media outlet (not The PUNCH) claimed that the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, had conspired with a General who ordered the deployment of troops to some locations in Lagos for the election to be rigged in favour of the Labour Party.

In a swift reaction on Monday, the Director, Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu, claimed 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 motivation 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 at this responsible posture and the democratic opportunity it offered 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 in 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 that 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 would continue to pursue, mindful that the average citizen expects nothing less from his Army.”

He also assured that the service would investigate and punish any of its personnel found culpable of misconduct.

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