Don’t Involve Military in Politics, DHQ Tells PDP


• Says violation of military code not tolerated 

•To probe attacks on personnel in Niger Delta Text Box: •Dickson visits Buratai

Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja

The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) yesterday asked the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) not to drag the Nigerian Armed Forces into politics, insisting that the military would not be dragged into politics but would remain focused on the peaceful conduct of the remaining elections.

The DHQ has also warned military personnel against violation of the code of conduct guiding the elections.

The opposition PDP had accused the military of taking sides with the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) during the recent presidential and National Assembly elections and vowed to report the matter to the United Nations(UN).

Also, the DHQ has warned the military personnel against violation of the code of conduct guiding the elections, promising to take a position on the attacks on military personnel in Bayelsa State that led to the death of some soldiers and other allegations and counter allegations against soldiers after an exhaustive investigation would have been conducted.

This is coming as the Governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson, yesterday paid a visit to the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai, at the Army Headquarters in Abuja.

Defence Spokesman, Colonel Onyema Nwachukwu, told THISDAY yesterday that the military would not be involved in the murky politics of Nigeria.

“I will like to be very categorically that the Armed Forces of Nigeria is very apolitical. This position cannot be compromised.

“Our role in the Constitution is to defend the territorial integrity of Nigeria and to act in aid of civil authority when called upon to do so.

“I want to make it clear that military personnel who are involved in the security architecture of the electoral process are guided by a code of conduct, a violation of which cannot be condoned by the leadership of the armed forces,” he said.

While assuring of the commitment of the military to discharge its duties, he said it would be premature to comment on the violence that took place during the last elections without exhaustive investigation.

“It is premature to indict anyone without conducting investigation. Currently, the armed forces of Nigeria are focused on ensuring that we support the lead agencies in the electoral process to provide adequate security during the conduct of the election,” he said.

On concerns being raised over the show of force by the Nigerian Army in Akwa Ibom State, a supposedly peaceful state, Nwachukwu said the exercise was a deterrent for “would be law breakers”.

“There is nothing wrong with a show of force parade. There are people who want to abuse the rights of others during the election. It is not for law abiding citizens.

Speaking on the killing of soldiers in Bayelsa State, he said exhaustive investigation would be conducted.

“It is unfortunate that those things happened but like I told you we want to do exhaustive investigation. If people can be so brazen to attack troops on duty, it is most unfortunate and needs to be condemned.

“Nobody deserves to die in this election whether security agents or civilians,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dickson, yesterday paid a visit to Buratai

Details of the visit were not made available but THISDAY’s investigation revealed that the visit was not unconnected with the killing of three soldiers in the state during the last election.

“The governor commiserated with the army chief and appealed against any reprisal attack by soldiers in the community,” a source privy to the meeting told THISDAY.