Rivers CSOs write Chief of Army Staff, hail conduct of personnel during 2019 polls

June 15th, 2019

The Nigerian Army, under the leadership of Lt. Gen. Turkur Yusuf Buratai, has once again received a pat on the back for restoring peace and security in the formerly restive Niger Delta region from satanic forces of militancy and the nation at large.

Some Rivers State-based civil society groups, known as Coalition of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) gave the commendation in an open letter to the army chief on Friday.

The CSOs said the open appreciation of Buratai’s leadership became imperative following the successful conduct of the 2019 general elections.

“We least expected that Nigeria would come out of it unhurt as it is today. But with the intervention of the Army under your leadership, we have seen a near-zero electoral violence and killings during and after the last general elections,” part of the letter signed by Comrade Tamuno George (Esq), Convener, Coalition of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) read.

The coalition also hailed the army leadership for its display of maturity and professionalism in Rivers State despite the efforts of the state government led by Nyesom Wike to dent its image with unfounded allegations.

The letter reads in full.

Please accept our belated post- Sallah greetings to you, the General Officers Commanding (GOCs) and other Army personnel of our valued Nigerian Army.

Sir, we hope you will pardon our tardiness hence there is really no belatedness in appreciating a good leader like you and our disciplined, patriotic and hard-working Nigerian troops.

The Coalition of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) domiciled in Rivers State have chosen this propitious time to specially thank you and your troops all over Nigeria. We know, you are spending sleepless nights and also, working sedulously every day for us to have peace and security in our respective domains.

We are elated at the manner you have restored peace and security in the formerly restive Niger Delta region from satanic forces of militancy which tormented all and sundry. It’s obvious to us that you’re indeed, a very “senior spirit,” on security, whose status is acclaimed globally.

When President Muhammadu Buhari appointed you as Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and also, the ombudsman of counter-insurgency operations in Nigeria, we were among those who doubted your competence to repress the threatening and assorted insecurity challenges of our dear country, Nigeria.

But years down the aisle of securing Nigeria, this “Peoples General,” a sobriquet we have specially adopted in the Niger Delta in recognition of your uncommon gift and talents as Mr. Fixer of Nigeria’s security challenges, has made us proud. We had no option than to publicly eulogize your excellent works in securing our country. We again, unanimously, chorus a loud thank you.

We have seen your rewarding and reflective shadows on insecurity in the Northeast, where you sometimes personally lace your boots and hop into the trenches with your troops to battle Boko Haram terrorism. These CSOs have seen and felt the impact of your struggles with insurgents and have freed our country from their evil chains. In the Northwest, you have battled armed bandits and cattle rustlers to a standstill.

In the Southeast, like you did in the South-South, our people have greater peace and security because you left nothing to chance or happenstance in handling violent secessionist agitations and barefaced armed criminality.

Nigerians in the North Central region are also paying glowing tributes to your leadership dexterity because the Army under your command has quelled crises of various dimensions, which would have ordinarily turned the region into a warzone.

We passionately acknowledge that these confounding feats have been achieved because you are able to reorganize, restructure, re-orientate and reposition the Nigerian Army as a patriotic and responsible arm of Nigeria’s Armed Forces.

We endearingly commend President Buhari for extending the needed support and free hand to you for the elevation of the Nigerian Army to grandiose heights in a manner, we least, expected. Again, let us reiterate our thanks to Mr. President for his support to you for the milestones.

And it has convinced us clearly that with you on the saddle as COAS and counter-insurgency leader, no enemy force can defeat Nigeria. None can deprive the citizenry of their liberty to security, peace and unity.

These CSOs are particularly bolstered into this open appreciation of your leadership of the Army because the 2019 general elections were scary for us and other electorates in Rivers state, Niger Delta region and the entire country. We least expected that Nigeria would come out of it unhurt as it is today. But with the intervention of the Army under your leadership, we have seen a near-zero electoral violence and killings during and after the last general elections.

Anywhere our members encountered your troops, we noticed a reformed and disciplined Army, which monitored elections throughout the country without issues raised even by the stiffest opposition parties against their professional conduct whilst on election duty. We saw the Army’s translucent apolitical stand as always sermonized by your leadership.

We noticed for the first time in our history of democratic elections or politics, a transparent outing of soldiers on election duty with just one motive and it started and ended with safeguarding and protecting Nigeria’s democracy to the #NextLevel. We cannot be less proud of you.

Sir, and for the first time, we saw and utilized the Army’s Situation Room under your leadership, which monitored and promptly responded to insecurity alarms from Nigerians in all parts of the country.

This singular initiative saved Nigerians from the planned electoral violence and killings. It averted the plots of electoral heist by demonic forces in Nigeria in 2019. We saw top military officers, especially in Rivers state, who stoutly resisted the numerous temptations of financial inducements by the incumbent Government of Rivers State to compromise the ballots.

We applaud the good conduct of the Nigerian troops particularly in Rivers State, where a vicious Gov. Nyesom Ezenwa Wike who was so desperate for reelection by hook or crook, blackmailed, intimidated and undermined the Army with his executive might.

It has not escaped our memory that Gov. Wike attempted to tarnish the good image and reputation of the Nigerian Army under your leadership by severally approaching the General Officer Commanding (GOC), 6 Division, Nigerian Army, Maj. Gen. Jamil Sarham and other officers to compromise the electoral process. When the attempts failed, Gov. Wike went to bizarre extents in blackmailing the institution of the Nigerian Army.

We dare say, without the intervention of soldiers, Gov. Wike would have murdered a sizeable population of the people of Rivers state like he did in 2015 for the sake of political power.

But Gen. Sarham resisted his devilish overtures and he is greatly appreciated for his steadfastness to save lives and protect Nigeria’s democracy in Rivers state. Again, the Army under your command actually saved democracy in Nigeria and our experience in Rivers state amply attest to it.

And Sir, when we heard of the James Moore group, the “UK Matters Most”, protests in London to No. 10 Downing Street, Buckingham Palace and delivered a letter to Queen Elizabeth II as well as the Westminster Parliament, compelling these top government officials to kick-start action on Gov. Wike’s alleged $1 million bribe to the High Commissioner and consulate officials in the British High Commission in Abuja, it was clear to us, Gov. Wike’s failure to monetarily influence the Army or compromise them compelled him to shift his devilry to foreign officials.

We learnt Gov. Wike’s alleged $1 million bribe to British High Commissioner and Consulate officials in Abuja was meant to have the British election observers cook an incriminating report, which will implicate and question the partiality of the Nigerian Army, especially, the innocent Gen. Sarham and his officers in Rivers state.

But God intervened by exposing the innocence of the Nigerian Army under your command by leaking the secret deals designed against your troops in Rivers state. The “UK Matters Most,” group’s protest in far away London explained it all.

And we shall soon officially write the British Parliament to make public its findings on this allegation against its Consulate officials in Nigeria. It is completely detestable by us for Britain to attempt to bury the outcome of this investigation on such a serious matter as it appears ominous now.

Lastly, we give the greatest gratefulness to you and your commanders for these wonderful works. Nigerians want you to know that your stamp of integrity, discipline and professionalism on the Army have reflected in the modified conduct of Nigerian troops during national assignments. And it has really impressed us and everyone in Nigeria.

We pray that may your days be long and let Almighty God continue to replenish your wisdom and foresight to continue to impact positively on this important institution for us and Nigerians. Thank you, Sir!

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