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US Country report on Nigeria aimed at forcing homosexuality, sale of national assets on Buhari - Diaspora Group

US Country report on Nigeria aimed at forcing homosexuality, sale of national assets on Buhari - Diaspora Group

By Dansu Peter

United Kingdom Chapter of Arise Nigeria, a group of Nigerians in the diaspora, has reacted to the recent report by the United State through its State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labour under the title “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2018.” which accused the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government of abating corruption and extra-judicial killing.

The group said the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2018 was aimed at forcing homosexuality and sale of national assets on the current government.

Arise Nigeria made this revelation in a communiqué issued after its extraordinary meeting held in London on Saturday.

A communique jointly signed by Dr. Philip Idaewor Chairman, AriseNigeria and Charles Eze, Secretary, called on  the Nigerian government to reject the report and make its stance known to the US without delay.

The statement reads in full.

Documents like this are equally cited as input for decision making by third party countries that could withhold economic, political, military and other critical co-operation from Nigeria based on the conclusions reached in the report, and similar documents.
The meeting of the United Kingdom Chapter of Arise Nigeria was therefore able to dispassionately deconstruct the content of the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2018. It was found that there are areas where Nigeria has to shore up policies and their implementation in order to make progress. Unfortunately, however, the bulk of the content of the report were found to maliciously target Nigeria in a manner that confirmed racist stereotype as well as laying the foundation for manufacture of dissent, in which citizens were being emotionally manipulated to stage uprising against their government.
The observation about manufacture of dissent suggests that the United States might be at the early stage of engineering forceful regime change in new set of countries. Even though is recommended that the valuable strong points highlighted in the report should prompt the authorities to taking decisive steps aimed at improving Nigeria they must nonetheless focus on the more pressing issue of asking the international community to call the United States to order by way of discontinuing any of its subversive programs targeted at Nigeria.
PROCEDURE – The meeting dissolved into groups to consider the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2018. Seven (7) groups considered the report under the corresponding sections it was partitioned into. These are:
Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person
Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties
Section 3. Freedom to Participate in the Political Process
Section 4. Corruption and Lack of Transparency in Government
Section 5. Governmental Attitude Regarding International and Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Abuses of Human Rights
Section 6. Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons
Section 7. Worker Rights
Another group briefly reviewed trend of reports for selected countries across the regions of world. The countries were selected to reflect a mix to reflect nations that are considered allies of the US and those against which it is known to belligerent.
All the groups reconvened into plenary after they have concluded their assignment. Each group presented its observations.
OBSERVATIONS -- The observations and findings of the eight groups were aggregated to arrive at the consensus view of Nigeria Arise (United Kingdom Chapter). It was observed that:
1. The Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2018 is a publication of the United States, which by default is intended to serve its interests in pursuit of global dominance. The relevance that is attached to the report comes from a misplaced relevance placed on it by other countries of the world, driven principally by aggressive media marketing that usually trail its release.
2. Nigerian authorities will have to set up a government team to study the report with the aim of further decoding it to get a fairer sense of the estimate in which the United States holds Nigeria. This exercise should be with a view to developing reciprocal measures that will ensure that the US will soft pedal on the promoting damaging content about Nigeria.
3. The Federal Government of Nigeria has to do more to counter the negativity that is reported about the country by promptly addressing the lies and inaccuracies compiled by organizations like Amnesty International, whose reports formed the major input for the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2018. NGOs and CSOs that operate similar agenda to Amnesty International must be managed using similar approach.
4. The report, rather than commending the Nigerian Military for their feat in suppressing Boko haram, set out to make the war against terrorism appear like a criminal enterprise undertaken by the Nigerian state.  It even went to the low ebb of suggesting that disproportionate force was being used in the anti-terrorism war.
5. The misinformation contained in the report in its assessment of the anti-terrorism war against Boko Haram and ISIS-WA strongly suggest that the only interest the United States has in the matter is for Nigeria to come under more terrorist attacks. This is especially so as the report failed to acknowledge the role of the US in aggravating the crisis through its policy that caused instability in the Middle East and North Africa to strengthen ISIS and accelerate the flow of weapons to terrorists.
6. The unfair demonization of the Nigerian military was matched by attempts to exonerate terrorist sympathizers like those who hide under the cover of being aid workers to support terrorists. 
7. The anti-corruption efforts, which Nigerians continue to be supportive of, was undermined by the report, which created the impression that enough was not being done to fight corruption. It was noted that the United States only disparage the anti-corruption efforts without acknowledging its role in promoting corruption in Nigeria either as being a receiving territory for proceeds of corruption or a tourist destination for persons that have been indicted on corruption charges.
8. The report is proving to be a decoy to reignite the issue of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) rights in pursuit of coercing Nigeria to repeal the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act 2014. The other areas in which Nigeria has made progress are being ignored to focus on an issue that the country legislated on based on democratic processes.
9. It also undermined the progress Nigeria has made in its democratic journey by presenting elections in the country as being flawed. It was apparent that this is being done by the US in its bid to empower the opposition as a fallback option for when it is interested in implementing forceful regime change in the country.
RECOMMENDATIONS – On the strength of the lies and disinformation contained in the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2018 as published by the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labour of the United States, Arise Nigeria recommends as follow:
1. The Federal Government must reject the fabrications contained in the report and make its stance know to the United States.
2. Efforts must be made to reassure commanders and personnel of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria that their efforts and sacrifices in fighting terrorism are appreciated by government and citizens alike and that they must not be dissuaded by the neocon lies of the US.
3. Nigerians must remind the United States that the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act 2014 was the product of a National Assembly that was democratically elected such that blackmailing the military and security forces of the country to have the law repealed will be counterproductive.

CONCLUSION -- The United Kingdom Chapter of Arise Nigeria concluded the meeting by setting up a committee to interface with the Nigerian government in crafting continue responses to the disparaging submission about Nigeria in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2018.
By Dansu Peter

United Kingdom Chapter of Arise Nigeria, a group of Nigerians in the diaspora, has reacted to the recent report by the United State through its State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labour under the title “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2018.” which accused the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government of abating corruption and extra-judicial killing.

The group said the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2018 was aimed at forcing homosexuality and sale of national assets on the current government.

Arise Nigeria made this revelation in a communiqué issued after its extraordinary meeting held in London on Saturday.

A communique jointly signed by Dr. Philip Idaewor Chairman, AriseNigeria and Charles Eze, Secretary, called on  the Nigerian government to reject the report and make its stance known to the US without delay.

The statement reads in full.

Documents like this are equally cited as input for decision making by third party countries that could withhold economic, political, military and other critical co-operation from Nigeria based on the conclusions reached in the report, and similar documents.
The meeting of the United Kingdom Chapter of Arise Nigeria was therefore able to dispassionately deconstruct the content of the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2018. It was found that there are areas where Nigeria has to shore up policies and their implementation in order to make progress. Unfortunately, however, the bulk of the content of the report were found to maliciously target Nigeria in a manner that confirmed racist stereotype as well as laying the foundation for manufacture of dissent, in which citizens were being emotionally manipulated to stage uprising against their government.
The observation about manufacture of dissent suggests that the United States might be at the early stage of engineering forceful regime change in new set of countries. Even though is recommended that the valuable strong points highlighted in the report should prompt the authorities to taking decisive steps aimed at improving Nigeria they must nonetheless focus on the more pressing issue of asking the international community to call the United States to order by way of discontinuing any of its subversive programs targeted at Nigeria.
PROCEDURE – The meeting dissolved into groups to consider the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2018. Seven (7) groups considered the report under the corresponding sections it was partitioned into. These are:
Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person
Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties
Section 3. Freedom to Participate in the Political Process
Section 4. Corruption and Lack of Transparency in Government
Section 5. Governmental Attitude Regarding International and Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Abuses of Human Rights
Section 6. Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons
Section 7. Worker Rights
Another group briefly reviewed trend of reports for selected countries across the regions of world. The countries were selected to reflect a mix to reflect nations that are considered allies of the US and those against which it is known to belligerent.
All the groups reconvened into plenary after they have concluded their assignment. Each group presented its observations.
OBSERVATIONS -- The observations and findings of the eight groups were aggregated to arrive at the consensus view of Nigeria Arise (United Kingdom Chapter). It was observed that:
1. The Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2018 is a publication of the United States, which by default is intended to serve its interests in pursuit of global dominance. The relevance that is attached to the report comes from a misplaced relevance placed on it by other countries of the world, driven principally by aggressive media marketing that usually trail its release.
2. Nigerian authorities will have to set up a government team to study the report with the aim of further decoding it to get a fairer sense of the estimate in which the United States holds Nigeria. This exercise should be with a view to developing reciprocal measures that will ensure that the US will soft pedal on the promoting damaging content about Nigeria.
3. The Federal Government of Nigeria has to do more to counter the negativity that is reported about the country by promptly addressing the lies and inaccuracies compiled by organizations like Amnesty International, whose reports formed the major input for the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2018. NGOs and CSOs that operate similar agenda to Amnesty International must be managed using similar approach.
4. The report, rather than commending the Nigerian Military for their feat in suppressing Boko haram, set out to make the war against terrorism appear like a criminal enterprise undertaken by the Nigerian state.  It even went to the low ebb of suggesting that disproportionate force was being used in the anti-terrorism war.
5. The misinformation contained in the report in its assessment of the anti-terrorism war against Boko Haram and ISIS-WA strongly suggest that the only interest the United States has in the matter is for Nigeria to come under more terrorist attacks. This is especially so as the report failed to acknowledge the role of the US in aggravating the crisis through its policy that caused instability in the Middle East and North Africa to strengthen ISIS and accelerate the flow of weapons to terrorists.
6. The unfair demonization of the Nigerian military was matched by attempts to exonerate terrorist sympathizers like those who hide under the cover of being aid workers to support terrorists. 
7. The anti-corruption efforts, which Nigerians continue to be supportive of, was undermined by the report, which created the impression that enough was not being done to fight corruption. It was noted that the United States only disparage the anti-corruption efforts without acknowledging its role in promoting corruption in Nigeria either as being a receiving territory for proceeds of corruption or a tourist destination for persons that have been indicted on corruption charges.
8. The report is proving to be a decoy to reignite the issue of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) rights in pursuit of coercing Nigeria to repeal the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act 2014. The other areas in which Nigeria has made progress are being ignored to focus on an issue that the country legislated on based on democratic processes.
9. It also undermined the progress Nigeria has made in its democratic journey by presenting elections in the country as being flawed. It was apparent that this is being done by the US in its bid to empower the opposition as a fallback option for when it is interested in implementing forceful regime change in the country.
RECOMMENDATIONS – On the strength of the lies and disinformation contained in the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2018 as published by the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labour of the United States, Arise Nigeria recommends as follow:
1. The Federal Government must reject the fabrications contained in the report and make its stance know to the United States.
2. Efforts must be made to reassure commanders and personnel of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria that their efforts and sacrifices in fighting terrorism are appreciated by government and citizens alike and that they must not be dissuaded by the neocon lies of the US.
3. Nigerians must remind the United States that the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act 2014 was the product of a National Assembly that was democratically elected such that blackmailing the military and security forces of the country to have the law repealed will be counterproductive.

CONCLUSION -- The United Kingdom Chapter of Arise Nigeria concluded the meeting by setting up a committee to interface with the Nigerian government in crafting continue responses to the disparaging submission about Nigeria in Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2018.

Election Post-mortem: Campbell as Past Tense

Election Post-mortem: Campbell as Past Tense

 By Richard Murphy

Who else is an expert in Nigeria and Nigerian affairs if not former United States (U.S.) Ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell? He also happens to be the go-to person for those that are desirous of setting the country ablaze. After all, Campbell happens to have the credibility as a onetime diplomat in Nigeria and is equally an American. As we have been told in a not too long-ago ignoble past, “America will know” if something is going wrong. 

Consistent with the agenda and policy of the United States, Campbell saw an opening to further the destabilization component of this agenda in the recently concluded General Elections. He used election post-mortem for the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington DC to further demonstrate the animosity he harbors towards Nigerians. 

In an irresponsible act that the US will not accept from anyone, he constituted himself into the approving authority with jurisdiction for validating Nigeria’s elections as credible and acceptable or otherwise. His verdict was that the 2019 General Elections were bad news for democracy in Nigeria. What is bad news, in reality, is that any right-thinking person can for a moment believe that Campbell is capable of being truthful, even to himself. 

It sad that some people, driven by sentiments, especially the opposition, are cheering Campbell on without realizing that his assessment of the election was not driven by any genuine love of Nigeria but is a racist reaction on the part of man who perpetually thinks that by virtue of his white skin he is superior to Africans with their dark skin. His intervention was driven by a perverted belief that the west or the US must continue to sit in judgment over African, Middle Eastern and Asian countries because they are incapable of managing their own affairs. 

Yet, Campbell is from the United States, which events of recent years have proven to be no better than other countries over, which its minions like the former US ambassador to Nigeria seek to subjugate for its geo-strategic interests. First, this is a country whose elections are also imperfect to an extent that it has itself confirmed that Russia was able to rig the election for its incumbent President, Donald Trump. Also, the Russian intervention in the US election still rankles for the Americans, who have continued to lament the sense of desecration they felt so why does Campbell think it is alright to meddle in Nigeria’s affairs. Lastly, the imperfection in the US election with the Russian rigging of Trump into power remains a sore point for Americans so where is Campbell’s moral right to questions elections that were held within the Nigerian reality? 

The true scale of the frustration that propelled the former US ambassador to write his misleading submission is better understood against the background of the failure of the intelligence he provided to his country. It is understood that he misled his country into supporting the candidacy of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP)’s Atiku Abubakar. This shift from Atiku being a fugitive to him being an aide to visiting VIP was in part based on Campbell’s recommendations that his country should not be antagonistic of the “incoming president”.  A footnote here is that Campbell will never accept anyone linked with the Congressman Jefferson bribe-for-influence scandal to be a councilor in his own country. 

Campbell’s disdain and disrespect for Nigeria runs deep for him to pre-empt the judiciary. In his country, declaring that the candidate challenging the outcome of the election in court would not win his suit is would be considered sub judice, something for which he could be held in contempt and possibly spend time in jail. But knowing that he is beyond the reach of Nigeria’s jurisdiction, he cowardly made partial comments on a matter before the court in Nigeria, and in a manner likely to fuel violent reactions at that. 

If Campbell were taken seriously then the US is guilty of the same offence as Nigeria by electing a 72-year-old Donald Trump in response to Nigeria’s 76-year-old President Buhari. Yet, this charlatan was pontificating about how “there would be no generational leadership change” because his permutation failed spectacularly.   

 The direction that Campbell and his clients will pursue next is already clearly indicated. They will intensify whatever it is they have been doing to destabilize Nigeria. The code for this was embedded in his analysis when he wrote “Nigerians have begun to question whether democracy is right for their country”. This is Campbell setting the stage for the violent street protests, replica of Arab Spring, to overthrow a duly elected government. 

Fortunately, a lot has changed since 2007 when Campbell completed his assignment as an ambassador in Nigeria. He might have succeeded in the past with deceiving his clients about having contacts and leverage in Nigeria. His flawed recommendation that made his country bank on Atiku is enough proof that he has lost touch with the reality on ground here in Nigeria. His resort to hinting at non-democratic change in government or claiming that Nigerians are doubting their democracy is another faux that will further diminish his value as a diplomat as he will emerge as an analyst whose work is not reliable.

In conclusion, Nigerians that are setting stock in the mediocrity that Campbell presented as an objective analysis must enlighten themselves to reality. Even if Campbell were still the US ambassador to Nigeria his words are not law; incumbent Ambassador W. Stuart Symington, who was on the field and meddled endlessly realized the futility of interfering in Nigeria’s affairs so a former office holder will be even less successful. Campbell is past tense.

Murphy contributed this piece from Calabar, Nigeria.
 By Richard Murphy

Who else is an expert in Nigeria and Nigerian affairs if not former United States (U.S.) Ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell? He also happens to be the go-to person for those that are desirous of setting the country ablaze. After all, Campbell happens to have the credibility as a onetime diplomat in Nigeria and is equally an American. As we have been told in a not too long-ago ignoble past, “America will know” if something is going wrong. 

Consistent with the agenda and policy of the United States, Campbell saw an opening to further the destabilization component of this agenda in the recently concluded General Elections. He used election post-mortem for the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington DC to further demonstrate the animosity he harbors towards Nigerians. 

In an irresponsible act that the US will not accept from anyone, he constituted himself into the approving authority with jurisdiction for validating Nigeria’s elections as credible and acceptable or otherwise. His verdict was that the 2019 General Elections were bad news for democracy in Nigeria. What is bad news, in reality, is that any right-thinking person can for a moment believe that Campbell is capable of being truthful, even to himself. 

It sad that some people, driven by sentiments, especially the opposition, are cheering Campbell on without realizing that his assessment of the election was not driven by any genuine love of Nigeria but is a racist reaction on the part of man who perpetually thinks that by virtue of his white skin he is superior to Africans with their dark skin. His intervention was driven by a perverted belief that the west or the US must continue to sit in judgment over African, Middle Eastern and Asian countries because they are incapable of managing their own affairs. 

Yet, Campbell is from the United States, which events of recent years have proven to be no better than other countries over, which its minions like the former US ambassador to Nigeria seek to subjugate for its geo-strategic interests. First, this is a country whose elections are also imperfect to an extent that it has itself confirmed that Russia was able to rig the election for its incumbent President, Donald Trump. Also, the Russian intervention in the US election still rankles for the Americans, who have continued to lament the sense of desecration they felt so why does Campbell think it is alright to meddle in Nigeria’s affairs. Lastly, the imperfection in the US election with the Russian rigging of Trump into power remains a sore point for Americans so where is Campbell’s moral right to questions elections that were held within the Nigerian reality? 

The true scale of the frustration that propelled the former US ambassador to write his misleading submission is better understood against the background of the failure of the intelligence he provided to his country. It is understood that he misled his country into supporting the candidacy of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP)’s Atiku Abubakar. This shift from Atiku being a fugitive to him being an aide to visiting VIP was in part based on Campbell’s recommendations that his country should not be antagonistic of the “incoming president”.  A footnote here is that Campbell will never accept anyone linked with the Congressman Jefferson bribe-for-influence scandal to be a councilor in his own country. 

Campbell’s disdain and disrespect for Nigeria runs deep for him to pre-empt the judiciary. In his country, declaring that the candidate challenging the outcome of the election in court would not win his suit is would be considered sub judice, something for which he could be held in contempt and possibly spend time in jail. But knowing that he is beyond the reach of Nigeria’s jurisdiction, he cowardly made partial comments on a matter before the court in Nigeria, and in a manner likely to fuel violent reactions at that. 

If Campbell were taken seriously then the US is guilty of the same offence as Nigeria by electing a 72-year-old Donald Trump in response to Nigeria’s 76-year-old President Buhari. Yet, this charlatan was pontificating about how “there would be no generational leadership change” because his permutation failed spectacularly.   

 The direction that Campbell and his clients will pursue next is already clearly indicated. They will intensify whatever it is they have been doing to destabilize Nigeria. The code for this was embedded in his analysis when he wrote “Nigerians have begun to question whether democracy is right for their country”. This is Campbell setting the stage for the violent street protests, replica of Arab Spring, to overthrow a duly elected government. 

Fortunately, a lot has changed since 2007 when Campbell completed his assignment as an ambassador in Nigeria. He might have succeeded in the past with deceiving his clients about having contacts and leverage in Nigeria. His flawed recommendation that made his country bank on Atiku is enough proof that he has lost touch with the reality on ground here in Nigeria. His resort to hinting at non-democratic change in government or claiming that Nigerians are doubting their democracy is another faux that will further diminish his value as a diplomat as he will emerge as an analyst whose work is not reliable.

In conclusion, Nigerians that are setting stock in the mediocrity that Campbell presented as an objective analysis must enlighten themselves to reality. Even if Campbell were still the US ambassador to Nigeria his words are not law; incumbent Ambassador W. Stuart Symington, who was on the field and meddled endlessly realized the futility of interfering in Nigeria’s affairs so a former office holder will be even less successful. Campbell is past tense.

Murphy contributed this piece from Calabar, Nigeria.

It’s wrong to say election was militarised, says Gen Buratai, Chief of Army Staff

It’s wrong to say election was militarised, says Gen Buratai, Chief of Army Staff

By Dansu Peter

The Nigerian Army has been in the eye of the storm over the conduct of soldiers deployed to provide security during the 2019 elections. The soldiers have been roundly accused in several quarters of committing infractions, including partisan interference in the electoral process, that seriously undermined the credibility and sanctity of the elections. In fact, in the estimation of many observers, both Federal Government and the Army stand condemned over the undue militarisation of the electoral process.

But it is an accusation that the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, in this interview with pressmen, dismisses in its entirety.

THE military was accused of aiding in  election malpractices like snatching of ballot boxes. Your reaction? Militarisation has to be defined. What do you mean by militarisation? How exactly did the military take part in the elections? Generalisation is not the best. People just use the word militarisation without defining it. Was the so-called militarisation everywhere across the country? Why are people making so much noise about it? They are giving the impression that the military was involved in the entire process in the whole country. It is just probably a definition they only restricted to Lagos or where? ..Niger-Delta mostly People cannot just use the word militarisation in general terms to say the security agencies were involved. Who are the people involved? What does the Constitution say about the role of the military? We have the constitutional provision. We have made it very clear; we are not part of these elections, we are only supporting the police. Anything we do there is helping the police who are representing the civil authority in law enforcement and it is very clear that we have been called out to support the civil authority. That does not mean militarisation. And once we go out there, we are performing police role, it is not a military role, we are supporting the police essentially; that is very clear. The military was called out to come and support the police. So, they are just using the military in order to justify their failures, to justify their inadequacies, to justify their inability to rig because the security forces provided the needed security to prevent massive rigging, ballot box-snatching and so on. But strictly, the use of the word, militarisation is misplaced, it is wrong. We were there to perform our responsibilities based on the invitation to support the police which is legitimate. There is no way you will say that the election was militarised; it is misuse of the term. If really  the election was militarised, I tell you, nobody would take the law into his hands the way they did brazenly and deliberately did, even attacking our men, killing our personnel. An officer was killed, policemen were killed so if we were to take drastic steps to really show we were involved, it would have been worse than this. We were able to maintain law and order; we were able to conduct ourselves within the rules of engagement which is legitimate. So there is a deliberate misconception or misinterpretation of the role of the military in order to malign the military and discredit it despite the stupendous efforts we have made to ensure security in support of the civil authority. And you know very well if the security agencies, including the military, had not come out to support the elections in providing security, the level of insecurity, the level of killings, arson, ballot box-snatching and so on, would have been worse than what was experienced. So many of the stakeholders, both at home and abroad, have commended the military for remaining neutral, impartial and conducting themselves professionally; but a few elements who felt they were not given the chance to rig and to disturb on a massive scale the election process, are the ones shouting that the whole process was militarised. The military was not there to support any political party; we were there to provide adequate security as requested, in support of the electoral process. That was essentially what we did. So to say that the process was militarised is a misplaced use of word; it is unfortunate. Over the years, from our historical experiences, the outcomes or results of elections have been the major cause of instability in our polity.  They have led to a lot of killings, arson, you name it: in Kaduna, Zangon-Kataf, Modakeke and so many other places. So historically, if you look at it, we had those unfortunate incidents because they were allowed to go out of control. We had so many underlying factors; even in the First Republic, we saw the underlying factors that led to the  civil war; it is the same outcome of elections that led to that, characterised by so many malpractices. So government doesn’t want the same thing to happen and that was why the military was called in to support the police. There is no way we would be partisan; the country’s stability, the country’s peace is our watchword, it is very, very fundamental. Some people just chose to blame different entities and bodies for their failures.

On the allegation that the soldiers caught snatching ballot boxes are fake “Yes, that is another dimension because as I said, those people that did not want the election to go smoothly, created their own local militia, gave them military and police uniforms to be moving out here and there to misbehave, snatch ballot boxes, to disrupt the electoral process and so on. So anyone that sees them will automatically say it is the military and that is completely at variance with our code of conduct, with our ethics and the way we train our officers and men to ensure they behave professionally; that is very clear.  We arrested several of them and you must have seen our press releases with pictures of the fake soldiers, fake policemen, fake security operatives and so on. So once you see this, it is not the Army that created those ones and gave them uniforms; so instead of them to admit their shortcomings and misconduct, they are covering their heinous activities/crimes under the guise of militarisation. It is so painful, so terrible that they don’t have conscience and continue to blame the military for their own mischievous actions. This is where the Press needs to be objective, look at it critically. The Army cannot go and dress fake people or criminals to go and act on their behalf. We have seen the thugs, the militias; so where does the military come in?

These are very clear. So we have to be reasonable and objective; we are paid by the state to ensure that we defend our country and prevent breakdown of law and order for us to progress; there is no other way. It is very important.
By Dansu Peter

The Nigerian Army has been in the eye of the storm over the conduct of soldiers deployed to provide security during the 2019 elections. The soldiers have been roundly accused in several quarters of committing infractions, including partisan interference in the electoral process, that seriously undermined the credibility and sanctity of the elections. In fact, in the estimation of many observers, both Federal Government and the Army stand condemned over the undue militarisation of the electoral process.

But it is an accusation that the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, in this interview with pressmen, dismisses in its entirety.

THE military was accused of aiding in  election malpractices like snatching of ballot boxes. Your reaction? Militarisation has to be defined. What do you mean by militarisation? How exactly did the military take part in the elections? Generalisation is not the best. People just use the word militarisation without defining it. Was the so-called militarisation everywhere across the country? Why are people making so much noise about it? They are giving the impression that the military was involved in the entire process in the whole country. It is just probably a definition they only restricted to Lagos or where? ..Niger-Delta mostly People cannot just use the word militarisation in general terms to say the security agencies were involved. Who are the people involved? What does the Constitution say about the role of the military? We have the constitutional provision. We have made it very clear; we are not part of these elections, we are only supporting the police. Anything we do there is helping the police who are representing the civil authority in law enforcement and it is very clear that we have been called out to support the civil authority. That does not mean militarisation. And once we go out there, we are performing police role, it is not a military role, we are supporting the police essentially; that is very clear. The military was called out to come and support the police. So, they are just using the military in order to justify their failures, to justify their inadequacies, to justify their inability to rig because the security forces provided the needed security to prevent massive rigging, ballot box-snatching and so on. But strictly, the use of the word, militarisation is misplaced, it is wrong. We were there to perform our responsibilities based on the invitation to support the police which is legitimate. There is no way you will say that the election was militarised; it is misuse of the term. If really  the election was militarised, I tell you, nobody would take the law into his hands the way they did brazenly and deliberately did, even attacking our men, killing our personnel. An officer was killed, policemen were killed so if we were to take drastic steps to really show we were involved, it would have been worse than this. We were able to maintain law and order; we were able to conduct ourselves within the rules of engagement which is legitimate. So there is a deliberate misconception or misinterpretation of the role of the military in order to malign the military and discredit it despite the stupendous efforts we have made to ensure security in support of the civil authority. And you know very well if the security agencies, including the military, had not come out to support the elections in providing security, the level of insecurity, the level of killings, arson, ballot box-snatching and so on, would have been worse than what was experienced. So many of the stakeholders, both at home and abroad, have commended the military for remaining neutral, impartial and conducting themselves professionally; but a few elements who felt they were not given the chance to rig and to disturb on a massive scale the election process, are the ones shouting that the whole process was militarised. The military was not there to support any political party; we were there to provide adequate security as requested, in support of the electoral process. That was essentially what we did. So to say that the process was militarised is a misplaced use of word; it is unfortunate. Over the years, from our historical experiences, the outcomes or results of elections have been the major cause of instability in our polity.  They have led to a lot of killings, arson, you name it: in Kaduna, Zangon-Kataf, Modakeke and so many other places. So historically, if you look at it, we had those unfortunate incidents because they were allowed to go out of control. We had so many underlying factors; even in the First Republic, we saw the underlying factors that led to the  civil war; it is the same outcome of elections that led to that, characterised by so many malpractices. So government doesn’t want the same thing to happen and that was why the military was called in to support the police. There is no way we would be partisan; the country’s stability, the country’s peace is our watchword, it is very, very fundamental. Some people just chose to blame different entities and bodies for their failures.

On the allegation that the soldiers caught snatching ballot boxes are fake “Yes, that is another dimension because as I said, those people that did not want the election to go smoothly, created their own local militia, gave them military and police uniforms to be moving out here and there to misbehave, snatch ballot boxes, to disrupt the electoral process and so on. So anyone that sees them will automatically say it is the military and that is completely at variance with our code of conduct, with our ethics and the way we train our officers and men to ensure they behave professionally; that is very clear.  We arrested several of them and you must have seen our press releases with pictures of the fake soldiers, fake policemen, fake security operatives and so on. So once you see this, it is not the Army that created those ones and gave them uniforms; so instead of them to admit their shortcomings and misconduct, they are covering their heinous activities/crimes under the guise of militarisation. It is so painful, so terrible that they don’t have conscience and continue to blame the military for their own mischievous actions. This is where the Press needs to be objective, look at it critically. The Army cannot go and dress fake people or criminals to go and act on their behalf. We have seen the thugs, the militias; so where does the military come in?

These are very clear. So we have to be reasonable and objective; we are paid by the state to ensure that we defend our country and prevent breakdown of law and order for us to progress; there is no other way. It is very important.

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