The Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) will not allow terrorists and other criminals to disrupt next year’s general election as Nigeria is currently on global watch, Theatre Commander of the Counter-terrorism operation, Operation Hadin Kai, Major General Christopher Musa has said.
General Musa said in Maiduguri, Borno State, that troops in the North East and various military operations across the country have been directed by the Chief of Army Staff to stop terrorists and criminals from disrupting the 2023 poll.
“Chief of Army Staff recently during a visit, gave us directive not to allow breakdown of law and order. We all know the situation especially in the northeast. If things are not managed particularly with electoral violence all over the country, it will have tendency to take us backward,” he said. He reminded Nigerians that terror activities were still in in the North East though with successes by the military. He said any violence in any part of the country could trigger bigger security challenge.
“We won’t allow anyone to disrupt the peace we are enjoying now. We won’t allow anybody to make our country fall apart,” he vowed.
He asked politicians to operate within the rules and all electoral structure provided by the Federal Government. He said the global attention is on Nigeria’s conduct of the next year election and management of her complexities.
Responding to concerns on military possible partisanship especially with the ruling party, the commander assured of military neutrality. “We will not interfere. We assure the public of our neutrality, we will never take side. Ours is to provide security and not to take side.”
He told politicians in the North East not to allow thugs or anyone carrying arms, dangerous weapons during campaigns. He said the military would provide perimetre security while the police and other sister agencies were available for inner security all through the electioneering.
The Theatre Commander revealed various measures put in place to checkmate Boko Haram bombers and use of explosives by terrorists to scuttle the process. He urged people to participate in all election processes peacefully and not allow anyone intimidate them.
“Politicians should be free to go out for campaigns, people are free to vote anyone they want and be sure we will provide you with security because it is our duty to do so,” he stressed.
Over 50 election related violence have been reported in the country since the start of electioneering according to a Nigeria Election Violence Tracker by ACLED and Centre for Democracy & Development (CDD).
First published in Daily Sun