Be Neutral during 2019 Polls, Military Warns Personnel


By Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa

The Nigerian Army has again vowed to punish any of its officers and men who flout the military’s order to be non-partisan during the 2019 general election.

The army also warned against the indiscriminate use of the social media by soldiers, urging officers to adhere strictly to its extant rules on social media use.

The General Officer Commanding, 6 Division, Port Harcourt, Maj. Gen Jamilu Sarham, who spoke during this year’s West African Social Events (WASA) at the Elele Barracks weekend, urged the soldiers to shun any activity capable of bringing the military to disrepute.

The annual military ritual is aimed at bringing together and socialising with wives and children of officers and soldiers in the various theatres of operation in the country.

During the event themed ‘Celebrating our frontline troops’, Maj. Gen Sarham, who was represented by Brig. Gen Nasir Najaja, noted that though the occasion was meant to be that of merrymaking, the army would not fail to take disciplinary measures against such errant soldiers.

“May I use this opportunity to remind you about the forthcoming elections and the need to remain apolitical. You must eschew any act capable of getting you into partisanship.

“We must remain true to our professional calling and desist from all illegal activities. Let me warn that no act of indiscipline will be tolerated in the months ahead.

“We must continually ensure that our conduct is in line with the extant rules of engagement and utmost regard for the fundamental human rights of the citizenry. We must adhere to extant social media policies which prohibit the indiscriminate use of social media,” Sarham said.

In his comments, the Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State, Rear Admiral John Jonah (rtd), commended the army for the sacrifices it is making to keep Nigeria safe and united.

He urged the federal government to provide the necessary equipment for the military to be able to do its job effectively.

He said: “The last two years have been difficult for the armed forces and if there’s anybody that has contributed to the Nigerian state, it is the armed forces.

“They have fought gallantly with absolute sense of loyalty to the country. The peace we enjoy wouldn’t have been possible without them. To sustain these results, the federal government must adequately provide the necessary tools for the military to work.”

Brig. Gen Kevin Aligbe, Commander 16 Brigade, Yenagoa, who organised the event, had earlier explained the need to celebrate with the families of the soldiers in the frontline for keeping the home front while their breadwinner is away.

During the event, which witnessed several cultural displays and military competitions, Aligbe lauded his men for braving the odds at all times, despite the difficult terrain.