Ahead of the 2019 general elections, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, has advised all officers to remain apolitical and remain so during the elections “to avoid grave consequences”.
Buratai gave the advice on Wednesday at the opening of “Commander Corps of Engineers Fourth Quarter 2018 Conference” holding at the Nigeria Army School of Military Engineers (NASME) Headquarters, Makurdi.
The theme of the three-day conference is “Consolidating Nigerian Army Engineers Capacity for Reconstruction and Nigeria Army Stability Operations in the North-East”.
Represented by Maj.-Gen. Adekule Shodunke, Buratai said that officers of the Army must remain apolitical, conform to the democratic values and be loyal to constituted authorities.
“We must continue to conform to our democratic values, strive to remain apolitical at all times and in all circumstances. We must remain vigilant and above all, loyal to the constituted authorities.
“Our behaviour and general conduct must be guided by the code of conduct of the Nigeria Army during the electioneering and general elections. You must also be guided by the rules of engagement in the discharge of your duties,” he said.
He said that the “unity and integrity” of the nation lies in the Nigerian Army Officers conduct, therefore any action or inaction by any officer against the unity and integrity of the nation will be decisively dealt with.
The army chief further warned all officers to steer clear of political and religious organizations, adding that any breach would attract grave consequences.
He commended the media for their positive coverage of Army’s activities, especially in the North-East and called for further collaboration with the media to tackle security challenges in the country.
He said that army authorities had resolved to sustain its professionalism, excellent civil-military relations and adhere to the rule of law in the course of its engagements.
Buratai stated that the army headquarters was aware of the challenges faced by personnel, and assured that efforts were being made to ameliorate such challenges within available resources.
He commended the officers for constantly clearing of routes of planted Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and the fortification of camps and military bases of Operation Lafia Dole.
He also commended army engineers for their efforts in reconstruction of basic amenities like roads and schools, saying it was positively projecting the civil-military relations in the North-East and the country.
Earlier, in his address, Commander of Corps of Engineers, Maj.-Gen. John Malu, noted that the aim of the conference was to assess the capacity of the army engineers for the reconstruction and stabilising operations in the North-East.
Malu disclosed that headquarters of the corps had continually rotated personnel who had overstayed in Operation Lafia Dole to avoid fatigue of officers and enhance operational efficiency of the troops at all times.
He disclosed that they had completed the rehabilitation of Chibok Secondary School, Phase II of Doma Barracks, and construction of township roads and drainages for Anambra State Government, among others.
In his remarks, Benue Governor, Mr Samuel Ortom, said that 50 per cent of the successes recorded in the fight against Boko Haram was as a result of the expertise of army engineers.
Represented by Mr Benson Abonun, his deputy, Ortom urged the government to make use of army engineers for civil duties.