On Tuesday, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusuf Buratai ordered the validation of standing court martial to prosecute any officers who show partiality. Buratai gave this order while speaking at the Chief of Army Staff 1st Quarter Conference in Abuja, Federal Capital Territory.
He warned GOCs, Brigade Commandeers and other officers interested in politics and favoring Politicians ‘to resign before it is too late’.
It can be recalled that the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) had issued a stern warning to all officers and soldiers in the Nigerian Army to stay away from politics.
Reaffirming his stand on Tuesday, Buratai emphasized on the need for men of the NA to remain apolitical, especially as Nigeria approaches election year. He warned,
“Let me state emphatically here that the unity and integrity of Nigeria lies on the military and the NA in particular. Therefore, any act inimical to the unity and integrity of this country by personnel of the NA will be decisively dealt with.
The NA must remain apolitical and professionally responsive in the discharge of its constitutional roles. GOCs and Field Commanders at all levels are, therefore, warned that anyone that runs foul of his professional ethics will be appropriately dealt with.
You are all enjoined to continue to remind officers and soldiers under command to remain non-partisan and be guided by the stipulated code of conduct and rules of engagement in the discharge of their duties particularly in the coming 2019 General Elections. Furthermore, NA personnel in any capacity who receives any form of inducement from politicians, public or private entities, knowingly or unknowingly will be severely punished. Both the giver and taker of such inducement will be investigated and appropriately sanctioned.
I have directed for a Special Standing Court Martial to be set up in preparation for the coming 2019 elections. I must warn that any NA personnel found hobnobbing with politicians or being partisan will be investigated and sent to the Special Standing Court Martial. I must state clearly that any officer or soldier who wishes to be sympathetic to a political, religious or ethnic group should voluntarily retire from the NA.
Furthermore, all are reminded on the ban on any form of worship outside the barracks except those permitted for wedding and other social functions. Therefore, officers and soldiers must restrain themselves from any act of political, religious or ethnic patronisation as these would attract severe consequences. The fate of the 38 officers who were retired is still fresh in our memories.”
Buratai also assured Nigerians that the Nigerian Army remains loyal in carrying out its constitutional roles as well as providing aid to civil authority.
“My vision for the NA which is ‘To Have a Professionally Responsive Nigerian Army in the Discharge of its Constitutional Roles’ is geared towards ensuring a safer environment for development and socio-economic activities to thrive in the country. We must ensure that we conduct ourselves professionally and respond adequately to threats against our nation in accordance with our constitutional roles.”