Stop Allocating Soldiers to Politicians, Wike Replies Buratai

  • Britain warns against non-democratic change of govt in Nigeria

Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt with agency report

Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike has advised the Army High Command to desist from posting soldiers to politicians, saying it is counter-productive and a threat to national security.

The governor said the Chief of Army Staff, General Tukur Buratai, should go beyond complaining that politicians are hobnobbing with soldiers and take action to check the disturbing trend.

This is just as the British government has warned against “non-democratic” change of government in Nigeria, amid concerns over Buratai’s warning on Tuesday to officers and soldiers in the Nigerian Army to steer clear of politics and politicians, whom he claimed were attempting to influence them.

He said the Nigerian Army headquarters had received information that some individuals have been approaching some officers and soldiers for undisclosed political reasons.

On this basis, Buratai warned such persons to desist from these acts and warned his men to remain apolitical.

However, speaking during the flag off of the construction of Old Aba Road by Mbano junction in Oyigbo Local Government Area Wednesday, Wike said all over the world, only the commander-in-chief has soldiers guarding him.

He regretted that in Nigeria, the authorities have made it a practice to allocate soldiers to politicians who are in the good books of the federal government, with such being soldiers used for undemocratic actions against the people.
He wondered: “Who are those approving battalions of soldiers to politicians? If they don’t want soldiers to follow politicians, they should stop giving soldiers to politicians.

“It is only in Nigeria that soldiers accompany politicians. They should stop soldiers from being security details to politicians. Somebody comes home and they will give him a battalion of soldiers and they say soldiers should not hobnob with politicians.

“All over the world, it is only the commander-in-chief that is allowed to use soldiers. But here, you see soldiers following politicians everywhere.”
On the construction of Old Aba Road, the governor assured residents of the area that the road would be completed on schedule.

He added that the Old Market Road to Afam would also be awarded and constructed by his administration in Oyigbo Local Government Area.

He said since the All Progressive Congress (APC)-led federal government has refused to complete the East West Road, his administration would continue to develop alternative routes to lubricate the Rivers economy.

He said that his performance has silenced the APC, urging the people of the state to turn out en masse for the voters’ registration exercise, so that they can vote out failed politicians.

In his remarks, Works Commissioner, Mr. Iheanyichuwu Bathuel, said the Old Aba Road at the Mbano junction was a critical economic road that connects neighbouring states.

Also speaking, the Caretaker Committee Chairman of Oyigbo Local Government Area, Dr. Gbali Chisom, lauded Wike for commencing construction of the road.
Meanwhile, the British government Wednesday warned against “non-democratic” change of government in Nigeria.

Making the comment, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Ambassador Paul Arkwright, said: “The British government believes that democracy is actually critical in Nigeria.

“There are elections. If you’re not happy with your leaders then you should change your leadership through the democratic process and through elections.”

According to online news medium, Premium Times, the High Commissioner spoke on the sidelines of an event held in Abuja to formally launch a new report on corruption in Nigeria, which was put together by UK policy think-tank, Chatham House.

The UK envoy, while recognising the rights of citizens to agitate for a more tolerable living conditions, said his country would only encourage a change of power through the ballot box.

“Our position is very clear: we stand for democracy, we stand for the democratic process and we stand for change —if that is what the people themselves want,” the diplomat said.

“That has to be a choice the people make and not a choice that is imposed upon them.”