•Issues stern warning to political thugs ahead of Imo, Kogi, Bayelsa guber polls
Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
The Chief of Defence Staff, Gen Christopher Musa, yesterday, declared that the Armed Forces of Nigeria remained committed to defending and sustaining democratic rule.
Musa warned political thugs and criminals to steer clear of the off-cycle polls in Bayelsa, Kogi and Imo, scheduled to be held on November 11, 2023, or face the wrath of the military.
The defence chief, who spoke while receiving the Minister of Defence, Badaru Abubakar and the Minister of State for Defence, Bello Matawale, at the Defence Headquarters in Abuja, said the military will work to ensure free and fair elections in the three states.
“I want to assure you that the Armed Forces is fully ready, fully prepared, fully committed to the task ahead. We know there have been a series of challenges within the sub-region where we have a number of coups all over,” the defence chief explained. “We want to assure Mr. President and to you all, sirs, that the Armed Forces of Nigeria is fully committed to democracy.”
He added, “We will do whatever it takes to ensure that we protect our nascent democracy and for it to thrive and to also extend same to the sub-region because we know we have the capacity, and we are happy. We are also prepared for the coming elections in the three states of Imo, Kogi and Bayelsa. I want to ensure that the election goes on fully democratically without any fear or intimidation.”
Musa advised against violence before, during and after the polls, urging the stakeholders to ensure that the elections are free, fair and peaceful so that the results “can also bring out what people wanted.”
Meanwhile, the chief of defence staff has reiterated the armed forces’ commitment to defending the sovereignty of Nigeria.
“I want to once again welcome you to Defence Headquarters, Armed Forces of Nigeria and to ensure and to again state that the Armed Forces of Nigeria is fully behind the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria,” said the army general. “We will continue to defend the Constitution of Nigeria. Nobody will threaten us and go free. We will ensure that we restore total peace in Nigeria.”
The top-ranking general added, “I want to assure you that the Armed Forces is fully ready, fully prepared, fully committed to the task ahead. We know there have been a series of challenges within the sub-region where we have a number of coups all over. We want to assure Mr. President and you all, sirs, that the Armed Forces of Nigeria is fully committed to democracy.”
The army chief vowed that “we will do whatever it takes to ensure that we protect our nascent democracy and for it to thrive and to also extend same to the sub-region because we know we have the capacity and we are happy.”
Musa lauded the federal government’s determination, dedication and commitment to ensuring that the country’s military personnel are adequately equipped and trained to perform their constitutional role.
The defence chief also disclosed that the federal government had allocated special medical funds to treat wounded soldiers, commending the gesture.
“Also, there are special funds for medical. What we realise is the morale of our troops. They see how the injured are treated. If they’re not treated well, they will never want to be committed,” stated the general. “But we are happy to see how they are doing, and we are happy that more have been promised and more will be done.”
However, he requested the federal government to hasten consideration of the proposed harmonised terms and conditions of service, pending presidential approval. Some officers had raised concerns about the proposed harmonised terms and conditions of service, which hampered its consideration.
In his remarks, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Taoreed Lagbaja, said the government’s military interventions significantly impacted military operations and appealed for more funding to enable the military to function effectively.
Speaking at the event, Badaru assured the defence chief of prompt consideration of requests and improved funding. He commended the army for reducing the strength of terror groups nationwide and urged the military to wipe them out of the country completely.
Matawale advocated citizens’ support to the military to tame insecurity.