From Femi Oyelola, Kaduna
Eleven days to the presidential election, the Nigerian Army has said that, it is ready to provide a conducive security atmosphere for the conduct of the 2019 general elections.
It however ,said that it has warned its officers and men to remain apolitical throughout the elections period.
The General Officer Commanding (GOC) 1 Division Nigerian Army, Major-General Mohammed Mohammed disclosed this at the weekend while serving as the Guest of Honour in Kontagora during the Nigerian Army Corps of Artillery (NACA), Nigerian Army Training Centre (NATRAC) and 311 Artillery Regiment combined West African Social Activities (WASA).
General Muhammad said, “Bearing in mind that we have less than 14 days to the presidential election our mandate ad the Nigerian Army is to ensure peaceful conduct of the elections wherever our troops are.
“We are going to be providing support role to the civil security agencies, to ensure that they discharge their responsibility in an environment that is conducive for every Nigerian to come out and perform his or her civic responsibility,” he said.
He reminded the troops of the Chief of Army Staff’s directive that all Nigerian Army personnel must remain apolitical during the polls, warning that, army personnel found wanting will be appropriately sanctioned.
Speaking on WASA, the GOC said, “All works and no play makes Jack a dull boy, goes the popular saying. However, it is not only Jack that can become dull by working without playing, even our personnel will become dull if only subjected to ‘work work work’ without necessary recreation to relax their minds and bodies. This is the whole essence of this gathering.
“It is pleasing that despite the huge involvement of the two formations and unit spanning from training to operations, to enhancing peace and security in Kontagora and its environs in particular and Nigeria in general, the year 2018 edition of WASA could still be held,” he said.
General Mohammed while commending the officers and soldiers’ wives for keeping the home front while their husbands fight in defence of Nigeria, also prayed for the officers and soldiers who died in the battle against insurgents.
Similarly, the Commander NACA, Major-General Abubakar Tarfa who traced the history of WASA to colonial era said, during the Second World War, the forbearers of the soldiers under the West African Frontier Forces (WAFF) distinguished themselves in many battles owing to their diverse cultural inclinations. “the colonial authorities thereafter introduced WASA and made it an annual event to permit the African soldiers to observe any local cultural rituals.”
General Tarfa said, enormous security challenges confronting the nation notwithstanding, 2018 was quite busy and eventful for the Nigerian Army, as it strived to live up to expectations.
He however, assured that, the Nigerian Army will remain consistent in its collaboration with other security agencies to ensure security of lives and property and peaceful co-existence of all in the country and particularly their host communities.