As Nigeria prepares for the presidential election next week Saturday, February 16, 2019, the Defence Headquarters has warned it personnel against fraternising with any political party or association.
The acting Director of Defence Information, Brigadier General John Agim, during a press briefing in Abuja said the Nigerian military is not a government military but that of the Nigerian nation and would remain neutral, impartial and strictly adhere to professional code of conduct before, during and after the general elections.
He said the Armed Forces of Nigeria will discharge its constitutional duties with zero tolerance for unprofessional conduct.
Contrary to some fears expressed by some Nigerians, he said the military was on ground in 2015 when an opposition party won election.
He said with exception of those on essential duties, any personnel who is found on military uniform on election day will be arrested and made to face the full wrath of military justice says.
“The Defence Headquarters has warned that all officers, soldiers, ratings, airmen and women of the Nigerian Armed Forces must remain neutral and exhibit exceptional professionalism before, during and after the upcoming elections.
“To this end, with the exception of those on essential duties, no military personnel should be found wearing military uniform on election days,” he said
The Director however noted that military personnel who wish to exercise their civic responsibility must appear at the polling units with mufti devoid of any military accoutrement.
He stated that the deployment of the military is to assist other security agencies to ensure that no Nigerian is disenfranchised.
The Director further noted that all military commanders have been tasked to ensure adequate security in their areas of responsibility and directed to ensure strict adherence to rules of engagement.
He said the commanders have been tasked to arrest any one in military uniform who is not on essential duties,adding that any civilian caught in military uniform will be treated as a terrorist.
He further disclosed that the military is inundated with allegations of importation of military equipment and uniforms into the country which is being investigated, adding that in similar vein there is credible intelligence report that some people are planning to scuttle free and fair election in some parts of the country.
He therefore warned such group of people to desist from such unpatriotic act or face the might of the military.
“We would like to caution that anyone caught, be they serving or retired military personnel or civilians, no matter how highly placed will be arrested and treated in accordance with the extant laws of the land,” he said.