Critical Times News : Army to probe soldiers’ alleged abuse, partisanship during presidential election

Published by / 5 Mar 2019 / No comments / ,

Army to probe soldiers’ alleged abuse, partisanship during presidential election

Indications have emerged that the Nigerian Army may investigate allegations of partisanship and human rights abuse levelled against some of its personnel deployed on election duty. New Telegraph gathered from highly placed military sources that the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt- Gen. Tukur Buratai, was set to constitute a panel to probe the alleged misconduct of some officers and soldiers during the February 23 Presidential and National Assembly elections held across the country. 

As part of its mandate of aiding constituted authority, the COAS had launched Exercise Egwu Eke III, with the mandate to emplace adequate security before, during and after the elections. Buratai had followed up with an operational meeting with Principal Staff Officers (PSOs), General Officers Commanding (GOCs), as well as Directors, wherein he had restated the Army’s commitment to professionalism, non-partisan disposition and other timehonored values.

“Commanders are to ensure that they and their personnel do not hobnob with politicians at any level….,” he said. This Army had earlier disclosed that personnel on election duty would be guided by the rules of engagement, as well as code of conduct for the exercise. However, there were reports that some soldiers may have acted in a manner that was at variance with their code of conduct for the Presidential and National Assembly elections. 

For instance, National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Ucue Secondus had, at a recent press briefing, alleged, among others, that: “At the last count over 50 Nigerians have lost their lives last Saturday, most of them from the South- South, where a division of the army with their commander were turned on the people on the Election Day.” However, plans have been concluded to probe allegations of misconduct against personnel of the Army.

A senior officer, who disclosed this to New Telegraph in confidence, said a panel would soon be constituted to investigate all allegations and claims of partisanship against some soldiers. 

According to the source, the COAS has zero-tolerance for acts of misconduct, and so, was determined to subject all allegations to thorough probe. “Army Headquarters (AHQ) is doing something about that (probe),” the officer said. Another source, who spoke on similar condition of anonymity, said: “Army will investigate it (allegations against soldiers). 

“The COAS will constitute a committee to investigate.” Efforts to get official reaction were unsuccessful, as the Acting Director of Army Public Relations (DAPR), Col. Sagir Musa, did not pick calls put to his phone. He had yet to reply to a text message sent to him, as at the time of filing this report.

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