Ahead of the forthcoming general election in 2023, the Nigerian Army has cautioned its personnel to maintain their professional ethics and shun any act of partisanship in the discharge of their duties.
The chief of army staff, Lt Gen Faruk Yahaya, who gave this warning during the second quarter of the Chief of Army Staff Conference, also ordered a review of rules of engagement and code of conduct for soldiers providing security during the 2023 general elections under Operation Safe Conduct.
The warning may not be unconnected to complaints in the past of soldiers working with certain elements in off-cycle elections in some South West states to tilt the election in favour of the party in power.
The COAS, however, asserted that all personnel, especially unit commanders and officers, must remain apolitical while providing an enabling environment for the electoral process.
“At this juncture, let me hasten to remind us that the nation is currently preparing for general elections. All personnel must remain apolitical while providing an enabling and secure environment for electoral processes to thrive.
“In this regard, I directed the review of Rules of Engagement and Code of Conduct for Operation Safe Conduct; the approved guidelines would be conveyed to you soon,” Lt Gen Yahaya said, adding that the Nigerian Army will continue to enhance its civil-military relations efforts and provide the necessary support in aid of the civil authority.
According to him, the successes achieved in military operations were facilitated by the commitment of the political leadership towards enhancing operational competences of the Nigerian Army as well as its general logistics, welfare, and wellbeing of the troops.
General Yahaya said troops in the North East of Operation Hadin Kai had sustained the onslaught against the terrorists leading to the clearance of several criminal enclaves and the surrendering of large numbers of insurgents and their families.
He stated that concrete effort had also been made to contain and check the secessionist activities in the South East and illegal oil bunkering activities in the South South.
He said while the South West has remained relatively calm, the Army has reinvigorated operations across North Central and North West theatres which are yielding positive results.
He, therefore, said the conference would enable the Army to reevaluate strategies and establish new benchmarks for enhancement of operations in all theatres of operations.
The COAS further assured that the Nigerian Army will continue to sustain its effort to provide the enabling environment for socio economic activities to thrive.
The Army chief further noted that the Army’s training activities had also improved significantly as it continues to vigorously pursue adequate training of personnel both locally and overseas.
“The current efforts by our foreign partners in bringing relevant and mission-oriented training to our personnel are yielding the desired results.
“The positive feedback on the effect of the training from Restore Hope 1 and II, and Project Stinger in the theatres of operation since the deployment of the trainees is encouraging. Accordingly, we shall continue to devote premium attention to our training activities as this remains the best welfare for our troops and fundamental requirement for successful operations.”
He restated that the Nigerian Army had continued to make giant strides in infrastructural development.
This, he said, is to ensure adequate accommodation as can be seen in the number of commissioned living quarters for troops and several ongoing renovation works in various barracks across the country.
He thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for his strategic guidance and the confidence he always reposes in the Nigerian Army and “for always standing with us in the provision of funds for the procurement of new platforms, and other support and requirements.”