Tukur Buratai

The Chief Of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-Gen Tukur Buratai, has raised the alarm over plans by some politicians to employ mercenaries to carry out assassinations, infiltrate domestic staff of political opponents and use the social media for smear campaigns to disrupt the governorship and state House of Assembly elections on March 9.

Buratai has also told of how some politicians were planning to use the farmers/herders crisis, armed political thugs, a militia group, including bombings and spread of fake news as part of their strategies to destabilise the elections.

He said unlike the presidential and National Assembly elections, the Nigerian Army this time around would be tough on those who plan to rig or disrupt the electoral process.

The COAS made the revelation at a meeting he held with General Officers Commanding (GOCs), Principal Staff Officers (PSOs), Commanders, Directors and other senior officers at the Army Headquarters.

Buratai, who vowed that the Nigerian Army would not allow them to succeed, said: “Recent security threat assessment and analysis of the coming elections showed that politicians have made plans to use all means available to truncate the peaceful conduct of the elections. “There are indications of their intent to take advantage and to use the farmers/herders crisis, armed political thugs and ethnic militias to perpetrate acts of violence including bombings.

“Some of them also intend to infiltrate domestic staff of political opponents, employ mercenaries to carry out acts of assassinations, use the social media for smear campaigns, hate speeches and spread fake news in a bid to disrupt the peaceful conduct of the elections.

“We must not allow them to succeed.”

Buratai, while noting that the Nigerian Army ensured that the large scale electoral malpractices and acts of thuggery aimed at disenfranchising voters as witnessed in previous elections were curbed despite the campaign of calumny orchestrated by some politicians against the service, however, noted that some level of violence was still recorded in some parts of the country leading to the death one officer and 3 soldiers during the presidential and National Assembly elections.

The army chief who said the army would continue to protect the country with the last drop of its blood said the army would enforce all guidelines in support of the Nigeria Police Force to ensure the peaceful conduct of the elections in line with its constitutional roles.

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