By Chuks Oyema-Aziken
The Chief of Army of Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, says the Nigerian Army will not shy away from dishing out appropriate punishment to any of its personnel engaged in acts that violate the rights of citizen.
Gen. Burutai made this known in Abuja on Tuesday during a summit on ‘Terrorism, Insurgency and Incidence of Electoral Violence in Nigeria: Role of Security Agencies’, organised by the Nigerian Army Resource Centre in collaboration with the African Union Development (AUDA-NEPAD).
The army chief, who said military personnel are deployed across the country to ensure security, warned that the army would not turn blind eyes when rules of engagement are breached.
“Personnel of Nigerian Army are deployed in all the geo-political zones of the country to assist the Nigerian Police and by extension the civil authority in keeping the peace. We have made significant progress in ensuring that lives and property of the citizens are secured particularly in the North East when Boko Haram has been denied physical occupation of any Nigerian territory,” Burutai said.
“The Nigerian army understands fully and subscribe to the fact that keeping the peace at the national or the national level troops must carry out an attack in line with the extant rules of engagement, where there are infractions and violations of human rights of the citizens, appropriate disciplinary measures are applied.
“This is aimed at upholding and maintaining the trust and confidence of the populace as well as the dignity band professionalism of the Nigeria Army.
While commending the organisers of the summit, Buratai charged participants to brainstorm on strategies that will help ensuring enduring peace in the country.
Also speaking at the event, the Chairman of the Summit and former Minister of External Affairs, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, stressed the need to ensure development, equality and justice for the country to have long-term peace and security.
Prof. Gambari expressed surprise that 20 years after the return to democracy Nigeria is still grappling with electoral violence and all forms of security challenges..
He said as a result of the challenges, the Nigerian Army has continued to be over-utilised and commended them for doing everything possible to live up to expectations.
On his part, the Guest of Honour and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, said the Federal Government has set up a committee to deal with issue of electoral offenders.
Mustapha, who was represented by Dr Amina Shamaki, Permanent Secretary, Special Service, Office of the SGF, said the Federal Government is also bringing Nigeria Police at par with international standard in order to effectively tackle internal security problems in the country.