2023: DHQ Warns Politicians against Violent Acts
*Says thuggery will not be allowed
*Says military personnel court martialed over collaboration with terrorists
*Troops destroy 337 illegal refineries
Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
Ahead of the 2023 general election, the military high command has warned politicians and their supporters, who are planning to cause trouble during the elections to desist from doing so or face the consequences of their action.It also declared that any political thug caught during the election would be dealt with, insisting that there would be no position to aspire for if the country is set on fire.Also, troops discovered and destroyed 337 illegal refineries in the Niger Delta region.Troops of Operation Delta Safe also recovered 2,264,000 litres of stolen crude oil and 142,000 litres of Automotove Gas Oil (AGO).Speaking in Abuja, Chief of Defence Staff, Gen Lucky Irabor, warned politiciansto shun violence and acts capable of causing a breakdown of law and order.”For anyone who is looking forward to be elected, he must do it within the ambit of the provisions of the law. Because we will not in any way, stand aside and see those who perpetrate violence all because they are looking for political offices, appointive offices”, he said.”Nigeria remains a nation that must live in peace, desire to live in peace, and Nigerians deserve to live in peace. And so, we will not allow criminals amongst those or if it is like thugs that might have made themselves available for anyone to use, we will not allow it.”We are working very closely with the police and we stand ready to give them all the support that is necessary, because going forward, Nigeria must be peaceful that’s what we’re looking forward to,” the military chief said.Irabor said when peace reigns, there would be a country to live in.”I am glad Mr. President has told us, in the history of our nation, what the desires are, but please do not think that is just responsibility of government, it is everyone of us that will ensure that we have a peaceful electioneering period and the incoming 2023 elections, so that everyone of us will have a country that we will be proud of.”If we don’t have a country, then, there will be no appointive positions to aspire for. So, the most important thing regarding this election that is coming, is that we must be men and women that conduct ourselves peacefully, and I need you, members of the press to drive this message to everyone”, he said. The defence chief maintained that the military was working with the police and other security agencies to ensure a free and fair election.”We are working very closely with the police and we stand ready to give them all the support that is necessary, because going forward, Nigeria must be peaceful that’s what we’re looking forward to,” the military chief said.Meanwhile, Irabor said several personnel of the three arms of the military caught conniving with the kidnappers, bandits, terrorists and other criminals were facing court martial in different formations.He said they would be made to face the wrath of law for being internal saboteurs within the military but declined to comment on the number of officers facing trial.”There will always be a time where there are those who are bad eggs, there will always be bad eggs, there will always be, so for us, because there are bad eggs, or we envisaged that at some points there would be bad eggs, there are filters we have also made.”Part of those filters is, even having to discover those moles and then put them on trial. They were not reported to us, we discovered them. If we didn’t have measures to discover and for us to have mechanisms for internal checks, how would we have discovered the moles?”That we even discovered the moles, that tells you to trust that something is being done about them. I am glad you are told about the standing court martial. Why did we have to create one in the theatres? Why do we even have to have one here, in Abuja, in the DHQ Garrison?”, he queried.”In the DHQ Garrison, there is a standing court martial, in all the divisions of Nigerian Army, there are standing court martials. Why? Because it is part of our administrative procedures to address issues because discipline is the anchor of our existence.”This is why many of you when you talk about human rights, you get it misplaced especially when you are dealing with members of the armed forces. Because there’s an internal mechanism. If the armed forces are to operate within the ambit of your understanding of what human rights is, then of course, there will not be an armed forces, a disciplined armed forces”, he said.Speaking on the recent attack in Owo, Ondo State, the military chief maintained that efforts were in top gear to bring the perpetrators of the dastardly acts to book.On the Niger Delta region, he said the Joint Task Force of Operation Delta Safe had remained relentless in their kinetic operation in the last seven weeks of it operations arrested 141 oil thieves, discovered and destroyed 337 illegal oil refineries, 1,052 metal storage tanks, 515 ovens, 68 wooden boats and confiscated 59 vehicles, 16 outboard engines and 11 rifles.