The Nigerian Army has again clarified that its role in the 2019 general elections is purely assisting the civil authority and the police in providing security for the conduct of the poll.
Col. Sagir Musa, the army spokesman stated this in a statement on Monday, while reacting to a report alleging that the United Kingdom has expressed concern over military involvement in Rivers state during the elections.
Musa said the accusation was ”totally baseless, untrue and therefore capable of misleading unsuspected members of the public’’.
He maintained that there was no credible record of the army’s involvement in election anywhere in the country before, during and after the exercise.
Rather, Musa noted that available records showed that the army has been globally applauded by foreign and local elections’ observers for its role in ensuring peaceful conduct of the elections.
“Foreign interests are, therefore, enjoined to be mindful of interfering in our national internal affairs, especially when there is no credible evidence,’’he said.
According to the army spokesman, any allegation against the army must be confirmed from appropriate quarters before jumping to conclusions.
Musa, however, re-assured Nigerians that the army would deal with any of its personnel found to have contravened the law.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Nigerian Army had on Sunday alleged that intelligence at its disposal indicated that some politicians kitted thugs with military uniform to impersonate its personnel during the poll.
It further alleged that the thugs perpetrated various electoral crimes in the interest of politicians.
The army lamented that the thugs have been “wrongly viewed and addressed as real military personnel on both social and mainstream media platforms, thereby bringing the army’s reputable to disrepute’’.
It posted pictures of fake soldiers arrested in Rivers, Imo and Abia states, involved in electoral crimes on its Whatsapp platform.
The army said the politicians used the recruited thugs dressed in military uniform to harass and intimidate opponents.
“In some cases, as reported, and as indicated in various intelligence reports, – hoodlums dressed in military fatigue snatched ballot boxes and other electoral materials.
“Some INEC staff were reportedly abducted (by the thugs),’’ it said.