We won’t disobey Buhari’s order, Buratai tells Atiku - Dove Bulletin - Online News Bulletin

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We won’t disobey Buhari’s order, Buratai tells Atiku


The Nigerian Army has warned politicians against making inciting comments, saying absolute loyalty to constituted authority was one of the core values upon which the Force anchored its existence.

It also gave officers and men of the Nigerian Army with doubtful loyalty to the Federal Government Friday deadline to resign from the service.

Though, the Army did not name any politician, New Telegraph recalls that the warning came barely 24 hours after the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and former vice president, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, had advised the military against executing President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive to the military, to deal “ruthlessly” with anyone engaged in thuggery and ballot-box snatching, during Saturday’s elections.

Atiku had, at Tuesday’s emergency National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the PDP, advised the military against carrying out unlawful orders.

But, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai, took exceptions to this “inciting” statement.

Accordingly, he has asked the former vice president to withdraw the comment, even as he insisted that the Army remained apolitical in the discharge of its constitutional mandate.

The COAS stated the position at an operations meeting with Principal Staff Officers (PSOs), General Officers Commanding (GOCs), as well as Directors at the Army Headquarters, Abuja.

Wondering why such statement should come from people who, according to him, had held exalted positions in the past, Buratai said: “It is unfortunate to hear persons who are aspiring to rule this country again inciting the army to disobedience. We have consistently stated our position in the political dispensation to remain neutral and apolitical.

“However, direct and public incitement of the Nigerian Military against democracy and constituted civil authority will not be tolerated.

“I request such persons to withdraw this inciting statement. Let me re-emphasize loud and clear, that the Nigerian Army is a professional army.

“The foundation of military professionalism is discipline and without discipline an army cannot stand.

“One of our core values is loyalty to constituted authority. Loyalty must be 100 per cent. I shall leave you in no doubt as to our resolve to bequeath a professionally responsive army to Nigeria and Nigerians.”

To demonstrate the Army’s zero tolerance for indiscipline and disloyalty, the Army Chief urged officers and men in doubt, to leave the Service on or before the eve of the Presidential and National Assembly elections.

His words: “Should any officer or soldier have doubts as to his loyalty to the Nigerian State as presently constituted, such a person has up to 22nd February 2019 to resign.

“There is no room for indiscipline or disobedience to lawful orders in the Nigerian Army today.”

In the meantime, the COAS has directed commanders to be proactive, and deal with electoral crimes in their areas of responsibilities (AORs).

Buratai, who warned that electoral violence, if not contained, could snowball into full-blown national crisis, said the Army will adopt proactive measures this time around, rather than its past cautious approach.

“I want to remind all here present that the act of electoral thuggery, snatching of ballot boxes, illegal possession of election materials and similar crimes are intended to mar an election and create deliberate avenues for post-election violence and mayhem.
“Such actions can also become more damaging when they are widespread, leading to destruction of lives and properties.

“Incidences of this nature in previous elections are often planned and orchestrated by politicians and the NA has, hitherto, been very cautious in its approach.
“However, this time around, the NA will adopt a proactive posture that ensures that similar incidences do not even arise,” the COAS reaffirmed.

Buratai charged Army Commanders to “deal decisively with any electoral crime or action that would be inimical to national security.”

“Commanders are to ensure that they and their personnel do not hobnob with politicians at any level. In this regard, there will be no military escort for any politician and all NA personnel are to stay clear of retired military officers, especially those who are now politicians until after the elections.
“Commanders are to conduct extensive patrols within their AORs. They must ensure that all flashpoints within the area are dominated.

“Commanders must, in conjunction with the NPF, enforce the restriction on movement within their AORs. All vehicles must be searched and suspicious persons or vehicles arrested/impounded and later handed over to the NPF.

“Commanders must ensure they key into the NA Elections Security Monitoring Situation Room to send and receive near real-time information on events, as they occur in their AOR,” the COAS said.
Buratai told the commanders that the unity and corporate existence of the nation, was non-negotiable.

“I wish to first remind all of you that the unity of Nigeria is not negotiable. Hence those who seek to undermine our democracy by interfering in our electoral process must be seen as enemies of Nigeria and dealt with appropriately.

“Our role is aptly captured in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and we must defend Nigeria’s territorial integrity as well as act in aid of civil authority when called upon to do so.

“Therefore, commanders must work with all stakeholders, interest groups and agencies to avert any act by any individual, groups or entities that seek to undermine our democratic process,” the four-star General said.
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