By Ajogwu Jerry 

The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusufu Buratai on Tuesday warned officers and men of the Nigerian Army to avoid any form of political engagement or be sanctioned.

Gen. Buratai made the remarks while speaking at the Chief of Army Staff First Quarter Conference holding at the Army Headquarters Command Officers’ Mess in Abuja. 

He said the unity and integrity of Nigeria lies on the military and the Nigerian Army in particular therefore any act inimical to the unity of integrity of the country by personnel of the Nigerian Army will be decisively dealt. 

The COAS giving his opening remarks during the AHQ Conference

He enjoined officers and men of the Nigerian Army to remain apolitical and professionally responsive in the discharge of its constitutional roles. 

“GOC (Grand Officers Commanding) and Field Commanders at all levels are therefore warned that anyone that runs foul of his professional ethics will be appropriately dealt with.

“You are you enjoined to continue to remind officers and soldiers under your command to remain non partisan and be guided by the stipulated conduct and roles of engagement in the discharge of their duties, particularly in the coming 2019 General Elections.

“Furthermore, Nigerian Army personnel in any capacity who receives any form of inducement from politicians, public or private entities knowingly or unknowingly will be severely punished. 

“I have directed for a Special Standing Court Martial to be set up in preparation for the coming 2019 elections. I must warn that any Nigerian Army personnel found hobnobbing with politicians or being partisan will be investigated and sent to the Special Standing Court Martial,” he maintained. 

The COAS advised any officer or soldier who wishes to be sympathetic to a political, religious or ethnic group should voluntarily retire from the Nigerian Army. 

The COAS and participants at the conference

He further reiterated his vision for the Nigerian Army in line with constitutional directives through a simultaneous relationship with the citizenry:

“In this era of political and social transformation, the Nigerian Army remains steadfast in carryout its constitutional roles as well as providing aid to civil authority. My vision for the Nigerian Army is to have a professionally responsive Nigerian Army in the discharge of its constitutional roles,” he said. 

He applauded the successes recorded by troops especially the momentum sustained by operation Lafiya dole in the North East.

He concluded his remarks by reiterating the ban on any form of worship outside the barracks by officers and soldiers except those permitted for weddings and other related functions. 

General Buratai during the conference

The Army Chief also appreciated the support and cooperation of the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari in tackling the security challenges in the country.