A prominent group, Media for Morals, has expressed what it described as its full support for the Nigerian Army, particularly the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Tukur Buratai, for vowing to ensure the armed forces remain apolitical and professional in the discharge of its duties.
In a statement by Mairo Mudi, its National Coordinator, the group also berates the Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, for encouraging lawlessness in the armed forces by asking soldiers to disobey orders made by its superiors
“It is really deeply saddening, just as the Army leadership has observed, that someone that wants to lead Nigeria and be the Commander-in-Chief of its armed forces is the very person inciting officers and men of the armed forces to disobey lawful orders made by constituted authorities, Mudi said in the statement.
She added that “the entire hullabaloo about President Buhari’s warning for the military and the police to deal ruthlessly with ballot box snatchers is only indicative of the fact that some politicians, obviously of the opposition stock, were reliant on that method to get to power through rigging.”
She added that General Buratai’s directives are well in order when viewed with a dispassionate mind, and within the context of the law, “as the military, not just the army, cannot turn down a directive made by the President, who, constitutionally, is their Commander-in-Chief, and more so when that order is aimed at ensuring the credible election that Nigerians have been yearning for is entrenched.”
She added: “Buhari’s is not a shoot at sight order, similar to the one issued by then President Obasanjo on OPC. It is a call to caution, to scare away mischief makers who want to truncate our democracy through election rigging. What this means is that once individuals or political parties do not plan to rig, they have no reason to bother about the call. The army is a disciplined institution that knows what is right. It has been protecting us for years now, and will not just turn its guns against innocent civilians. The President ought to be celebrated for this patriotic call. It means neither he nor his party plan to rig the election.
The group concluded by asking Nigerians to appreciate the fact that the Nigerian Army is already overstretched, fighting to protect us in all fronts. “And it cannot sit idly by and watch enemies of the country worsen its case by setting it on fire through their desperation to get to power by all means.”
Mudi said that ballot box snatching is a crime under the law and the security agencies have the power to arrest individuals or groups that engage in it. “If the Nigerian Army would refuse to wipe out a whole community, inspite of its complicity in the recent killing of a major general, it means the institution is so orderly that it cannot just kill innocent, law-abiding citizens on Election Day or any other time.”