We Are Fully Ready For Them, Defence Chief, General Irabor, Reads Riot Act to Deviant Politicians Ahead 2023 Elections*

By Emeka Nwankpa on June 17, 2022

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Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, has charged that the Nigerian military is fully ready to take down criminally-minded politicians plotting to foist a rein of fear and terror on the country before, during and after next year’s general elections. 

He equally has promised law-abiding Nigerians a very peaceful electioneering exercise ahead of 2023, vowing to engage persons or group of persons and their appointed thugs and agents suspected to be either planning or fomenting mayhem to have their way. Pledging that the Nigerian military will spare no efforts to ensure peace, he said that the nation was far bigger and greater than any politician’s ambition.

General Irabor’s stern warning emerged at his first surprise appearance at the now-popular and highly-informative Thursday’s bi-weekly media briefing by the Defence Media Operations (DMO) with Defence Correspondents, a platform he chose to comment on the operational activities and the successes recorded by the troops as the country celebrates its 23rd democracy at the Defence Headquarters Abuja. 

It was gathered that the CDS chose to use the DMO platform as a stone to kill many birds using as a test case the Ekiti State governorship elections tomorrow, Saturday June 18, 2022.

Hints of the General Irabor’s appearance emerged when reporters who first arrived the venue before the 10 am time of the briefing, noticed unusual movements of his aides made up of officers in military uniform and mufti. At the dot of 10am after the Chief of Defence Staff had entered the expansive CDS conference hall venue, the main entrance was closed. 

The CDS sat through the briefing which was unveiled by the Director of Defence Media Operations (DMO), Major-General Bernard Onyeuko announced the arrest of another wanted high-profile Islamic State of West Africa Province Commander, one Abba Yunus (aka Mallam Abba) and his accomplice at Samegu community in Kumbosto Local Government Area of Kano State and the surrender of a total of 57,000 Boko Haram Terrorists and their families between 2nd and 16th June, 2022.

Looking brisk and business-like at the briefing, General Lucky Irabor’s appearance initially heightened anxiety in the hall dropping a huge hint of seriousness which his remarks later revealed. 

Choosing to maintain the same standing position that has become the tradition of Major General Bernard Onyeuko, the DMO’s helmsman, the CDS seized the opportunity of the platform of the briefing to declare that the military and other security and intelligence agencies will continue to effect arrest of suspected hoodlums who violate extant laws.

He further warned that necessary prosecution will be carried out by the appropriate authorities. Towards the coming political campaigns and the general elections, he said that anyone caught in the possession of any type of weapons will face the full wrath of the law.

He maintained that the Nigerian military will not allow desperate politicians and their cronies to foist chaos, mayhem, violence and brigandage in their desperate pursuit of elective or appointive office.

“The Military will not fold its arms and watch the country get thrown into chaos by politicians who are desperate to win. Security agencies have been directed to ensure adequate security of lives and property during and even before the general elections in line with the policy direction of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration. Going Forward, Nigeria must Be Peaceful. For anyone looking forward to be elected must do it within the ambit of the provisions of the law.

"Because we will not stand aside and see those who will perpetrate violence all because they are looking for political office, appointive office. Nigeria remains a nation that must live in peace, desire to live in peace and Nigeria deserves to live in peace’’, he declared.

For Nigerians who are ready to be peaceful and exercise their electoral rights and franchise, he said they have nothing to fear but maintained that the professional and disciplined Nigerian military will not allow criminals, miscreants and thugs to foist their wish on the nation. He said no stone will be left unturned by the military, the police and other security agencies to guarantee free and peaceful electioneering campaigns and the election proper 

"Nigeria belongs to us all. We are going to a season that everyone desiring to have a peaceful election, peaceful electioneering campaigns and before entering into the main elections. Please don't think it's the responsibility of government, it is the responsibility of all Nigerians to ensure we have a peaceful electioneering period in order to have a country we would be proud of. 

"If we don't have a country, then there will be no appointive positions to aspire for. The most important thing regarding the forth-coming elections is that we must be men and women to conduct ourselves peacefully’’, he said.

Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Lucky Irabor, has exonerated the Nigerian military from charges of inaction on terrorists, bandits and other criminal elements arrested in the fight against insurgency and insecurity across the country.

Answering questions from journalists in Abuja on Thursday, General Irobor also said that the attacks on an Abuja-Kaduna train and the Catholic Church in Owo, Ondo State by armed bandits, remained very painful to the Nigerian military.

 He also dismissed the view in some quarters that the Nigerian military lacked modern equipment needed for effective prosecution of the ongoing war against terrorism, kidnapping and banditry in the country.

General Irabor made the remarks during the bi-weekly briefing by the Director of Defence Media Operations (DMO), Major-General Bernard Onyeuko, who announced the arrest of a high-profile Islamic State of West Africa Province Commander, one Abba Yunus (aka Mallam Abba) and his accomplice at Samegu community in Kumbosto Local Government Area of Kano State and the surrender of a total of 57,000 Bokoo Haram Terrorists and their families between 2nd and 16th June, 2022.

SOUNDBITE NEWS notes that there had been concerns in some quarters that after Federal Government’s repeated disclosures in the past about arrests of thousands of terrorists, no decisive, conclusive legal actions seemed to being taken to bring them to justice. This is more after parading terror suspects in the media paraded over their alleged involvement in terrorism, banditry, kidnapping and other acts of crime and criminality.

Weighing in on the subject in his remarks, the Director, Defence Information (DDI), Major-General OJ Akpor, noted that the issues of Human Rights and the slow pace of Nigeria’s justice system should be considered even when the appropriate authorities charge the suspects to court, noting much as the laws of the land were clear on duties and responsibilities of the respective agencies in the administration of justice process, the military has its well-defined roles and rules of engagement. 

Stretching the argument further, General Irabor said it was wrong to hold the Military responsible for the perceived failure to prosecute and jail those arrested for terrorism, banditry and other criminal acts, with some of them even resurfacing in other crimes.

According to the CDS, “the responsibility is on you (the media) to follow up on what happens with the arrested bandits or terrorists.”

General Irabor noted that if the Armed Forces were to work within the ambit of Human Rights, “there wouldn’t be any Armed Forces,” stressing, we have our internal mechanisms repelling crime.”

On the recent Owo attack, Abuja-Kaduna train attack and others, General Irabor said: “The military is indeed pained by theseunfortunate incidents. It is also our desire and determination to see that any act that could lead to bloodletting in any part of Nigeria is prevented. Those behind that dastardly act must be brought to justice, and we are working towards that”.

General Irabor, however, implored journalists and the public to continue to support the military and other security agencies in the quest to return peace to trouble spots in the country. He particularly urged the media to continue to educate Nigerians on the need to trust the military with useful, timely and actionable information in dealing with security challenges as issues of insecurity did not only rest with the military and other security agencies but on all patriotic and peace-loving citizens of the country.

According to him, Nigeria belonged to everyone living in the country with a duty to contribute in one way or the other in ensuring that criminals among us are exposed and dealt with.

While further fielding questions from newsmen, the CDS said availability of effective equipment for the troops in theatres of operations had been a major focus of the government.

He said the acquisition of fighting equipment was largely dependent on what was available in the market that had been assessed and adjudged to be effective, especially in dealing with Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) attacks.

According to him, IEDs attacks have remained the greatest challenge, especially for the operations in the North East over the years.

On the claims of possible smoles within the troops, General Irabor disclosed that the military had a mechanism of identifying enemies within, adding that a number of culprits had been arrested and court marshaled in different theatres at different times.



Posted on June, 17 2022

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