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Leave us out of politics, Nigerian army warns


We are two different entities and should be treated with respect, less the populace get us misinterpreted. That was the likely clear expressions issuing from the Nigerian Military.

Politicians were called upon by the Nigerian Military on Friday in Abuja to desist from using political campaigns to undermine its operations in the country.

This was stated in a statement issued by the Director of Defence Information, Maj. Gen. Chris Olukola. This call was necessitated by some views expressed by politicians on military operations.

"In view of the series of insinuations, allegations and false claims being made by certain activists and politicians on the legal and disciplinary process in the Nigerian military, the Defence Headquarters finds it necessary to make this call.

"Politicians should avoid using the forum or medium of their political campaigns to incite or endorse acts of indiscipline in the nation's military establishments.

"This call has become necessary as the trend got to another level on Tuesday when a prominent politician declared that soldiers have the right to protest Federal Government's failure to fully equip them.

"It was expected that the fellow quoted or his party would have made immediate moves to correct this fallacy or erroneous impression being propagated, especially in view of the level of knowledge of his principal and candidate in the forthcoming elections,'' it said.

The statement said since no such gesture was forthcoming there was the need to caution against "the propagation of this dangerous idea before it causes more problems''.

It further said "the military institution, for the avoidance of any doubt, rejects this declaration and its intention in all ramifications''.

The statement said the military law, as recognised by the Constitution of the Federation, is an appropriate legal document for the management of affairs of the military.

"The processes it outlines for handling military offences remain legal and will continue to be applied in the interest of the nation's security and democracy.

"Individuals and interest groups seeking to play to the gallery by being meddlesome, sensational or mischievous in interpreting developments in the military are advised to moderate their activities with some decorum.

"It is clear that the false accusations which depend on unsubstantiated allegations being peddled about the military operations in Nigeria are intended to tarnish the reputation of the military and its leadership.

"The campaign apparently aimed at undermining constituted authority in the military must not be encouraged,'' it said.

The statement said it was apparent that most of the comments in the media had been oblivious of the fact that the processes were still ongoing and yet to be concluded.

"The war on terror is not all about equipment, but mindset of both the military and the public, and inciting remarks can only compound the situation for all involved.

"The military is resolved to prosecute the counter-terrorism campaign with all sense of commitment by the rank and file.

"The tendency to suggest or encourage dissension in the system will not yield any advantage to any well-meaning Nigerian citizen.

"Politicians are therefore requested to guide their utterances as the military remains a veritable institution of the state.

"Those who seek to undermine or destroy it should be prevailed upon to stop the mission, considering the fact that the institution remains indispensable to government and its process under any dispensation,'' it said.

"The military is committed to defending the nation's democracy, and individuals and personalities are enjoined to refrain from pronouncements and attitude that can undermine the established justice/disciplinary procedures and processes of the military system.''

The statement said the counsel was very vital to the excellent civil-military relations which was crucial to the nation's development.

"Incitement to protests or mutiny in the military is an ill-wind which will ultimately blow no good to anyone.

"The military authorities should not be blackmailed with a view to forestalling the exercise of due command and control over the system as established by law in the interest of the nation.

"The Nigerian military has resolved not to yield to whims and caprices of those seeking to undermine its system purely for populist or political ends,'' it said

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