The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has warned politicians contesting for offices in the forthcoming general elections to shun every means of violence that would put the country on fire.
The Military High Command also declared that any political thug caught during electioneering processes or any election day would be dealt with accordingly.
The DHQ said there will be no position to aspire for if the country is set on fire.
The Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, gave the warnings at the Defence headquarters, Abuja when he joined the Director, Defence Media Operations, Major General Benard Onyeuko, during a press briefing on the activities of the Armed Forces of Nigeria between June 2 and 16, 2022.
”I’d like to thank everyone of you for the efforts you’re making, and to please sustain those efforts. Nigeria belongs to us. Now we’re going towards a season that everyone of us has been desiring that we have a peaceful election, peaceful electioneering campaigns and then entering into the elections.
”I’m glad Mr. President has told us, in the history of our nation, what the desires are, but please do not think that is just responsibility of government, it is everyone of us that will ensure that we have a peaceful electioneering period and the incoming 2023 elections, so that everyone of us will have a country that we will be proud of.
”If we don’t have a country, then, there will be no appointive positions to aspire for. So, the most important thing regarding this election that is coming, is that we must be men and women that conduct ourselves peacefully, and I need you, members of the press to drive this message to everyone.
”For anyone who is looking forward to be elected, he must do it within the ambit of the provisions of the law. Because we will not in any way, stand aside and see those who perpetrate violence all because they are looking for political offices, appointive offices.
”Nigeria remains a nation that must live in peace, desire to live in peace, and Nigerians deserve to live in peace. And so, we will not allow criminals amongst those or if it is like thugs that might have made themselves available for anyone to use, we will not allow it.
”We’re working very closely with the police and we stand ready to give them all the support that is necessary, because going forward, Nigeria must be peaceful that’s what we’re looking forward to,” the military chief said.
Irabor also told journalists that several personnel of the armed forces caught conniving with kidnappers, bandits, terrorists and other criminals were facing court martial in different formations.
The CDS, who said they would be made to face the wrath of the law for being internal saboteurs within the military, however, declined to comment on the number of officers facing trial when asked.
Speaking on the recent attack on St. Francis Catholic Church in Owo, Ondo State when asked for the update, the military chief maintained that efforts were in top gear to bring the perpetrators of the dastardly act to book.
He said the military was working to ensure those behind the attack were apprehended and brought to justice because the military does not derive joy in bloodshed.
Earlier, Major General Benard Onyeuko speaking on the updates on military operations said troops have intensified offensives against both terrorists and other criminal elements across the country.
He said the troops of Operation Hadin Kai acting on actionable intelligence arrested a high profile Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) Commander, one Abba Yunus (aka Mallam Abba) and his accomplice at Samegu community in Kumbosto local government area of Kano State.
He said the troops recovered five AK 47 rifles, one AK 74 rifle, two PKM squad machine gun, nine 85mm shoulder fired RPG bomb, 16 M67 fragmentation grenades, 10 50mm mortar rounds, 200 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition, 18 boxes of ammunition, 1 RPG model 7 tubes, 1 RPG 7 and 7 AK 47 magazines.
“This high profile arrest has nipped in the bud their planned mayhem in the area which would have claimed lot of lives,” he said.
In another operation on June 13, 2022, troops based on intelligence on movement of terrorists with intent to cross road Dogon Awo and Sokoto in Bakura Local Government Area of Zamfara State, engaged the bandits and neutralised scores of the bandits while others escaped with gunshot wound.
He said after the engagement, troops recovered 718 cattle, 10 camels, and five motorcycles.
Also, on June 14, 2022, he said troops while responding to a distress call on movement of bandits on motorcycles at Yar’kuka village heading towards Tadurga village in Danko Wasagu local government area of Kebbi State, engaged the criminals at Kwanar Dutse and neutralised several terrorists.
The troops recovered six motorcycles and seven AK 47 rifles were recovered.
“Cumulatively, within the period under review, a total of 12 AK 47 rifles, 1 AK 74 rifle, 2 PKM squad machine gun, 9 rounds of 85mm shoulder fired live RPG, 16 M67 fragmentation grenades, 10 50mm mortar rounds, 200 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition, 18 boxes of ammunition, 1 RPG model 7 tubes, 1 RPG 7 and 7 AK 47 magazines. In addition, the troops recovered 5 motorcycles, 718 sheep, 10 camels and neutralized scores of bandits.” he said.
In the North-West, the Commander Joint Task Force Operation HADARIN DAJI on June 6, 2022 handed over 706 assorted arms and ammunitions captured from the terrorists and other criminal elements within the theatre of Operation comprising of Katsina, Zamfara, Sokoto and Kebbi States to the Zonal Coordinator North-West Zone National Centre for Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons at 26 Battalion parade ground, Giginya Barracks in Sokoto State.
He quoted the Commander Operation HADARIN DAJI saying the operational success recorded from 2018 – 10 May 2022 led to the recovery of large quantities of assorted Small Arms and Light Weapons from criminal elements.
“The recovered weapons comprises of 203 AK 47 rifles, 44 automated fabricated rifles, 7 G3 rifles, 1 GPMG, 3 submachine guns, 1 light machine gun, 4 FN rifles, 410 dane guns, 71 locally fabricated pistols, 1 Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) empty canister and 1 pump action gun,” he added.