Military raises panel to probe personnel involved in 2015 guber, presidential polls
Threatens to deal ruthlessly with those found guilty
AUTHORITIES of the Nigerian Army have inaugurated a military panel to unveil the role of soldiers alleged to have participated in electoral malpractices in the conduct of last 2015 governorship and presidential elections, saying that those found guilty would be severelypunished.
The panel will sit in Kaduna over the conduct of indicted soldiers, and where the general public is requested to testify against the involvement of the soldiers drafted for the conduct of the governorship polls in Ekiti, Osun, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and some other states.
Addressing a press conference yesterday at the Headquarters of the One Mechanised Division, Nigerian Army, the General Officer Commanding (GOC), Maj.-Gen. Adeniyi Oyebade, said “as most of you are aware, the last general elections conducted in March 2015 elicited criticism in some quarters, especially from the general public, particularly on the conduct of Nigerian Army personnel during both the gubernatorial and presidential elections.”
Oyebode, who pointed out that the military’s business should not be politics, said: “It is therefore based on all the weighty allegations that the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Yusuf Buratai on assumption of command, articulated his vision of having a professionally-responsive Nigerian Army in discharge of its constitutional roles instituted this board of inquiry.”
According to him, spurious allegations were made against soldiers posted to assist in the peaceful conduct of the 2015 general elections, adding that “these allegations were centered on gubernatorial elections conducted in some states such as Ekiti, Osun, Rivers and Akwa Ibom, to mention a few.
“The panel is to investigate these allegations and recommend appropriate measures to prevent a reoccurrence in the future. The military as a noble profession of arms must remain apolitical in our democratic dispensation.”
Maj.-Gen. Oyebade said: “Politics, we strongly believe, should be left entirely to the politicians. The role of the military must strictly be in accordance with the provisions of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (As Amended).
“I must hasten to add, however, that in spite of these worrisome allegations, the military has to a large extent performed creditably as the foremost guardian of the nation’s democracy.”
The GOC stated that the panel, as convened by the Army Chief, was composed of himself (Gen. Oyebade) as the President with four other senior officers of the rank of Brig.-Gen. as members and a Colonel as Secretary.
Those listed as members of the panel include Brigadier-Generals Sunday Araoye, Emmanuel Kabuk and Baba Ibrahim, while Colonel Danladi Saliu will serve as Secretary.
Oyebade said: “We shall accord all witnesses that may appear before the panel full respect and treat all petitions tendered based on substantiated evidence to make our conclusions.
“On this note, I would like to call on all strata in the society and of course the general public to please as a matter of urgency appears in person if they so wish and/or forward their petitions inform of memorandum.”