Chris Steven, Abuja
Ahead of the general elections, the Coalition of Civil Society Groups on Human Rights and Conflict Management has hailed the Nigerian Army for its preparedness in ensuring a hitch-free exercise in compliance with the rule of law.
The group came to this conclusion after thorough observation of the potential attacks of certain miscreants under the disguise of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), IPOB and opposition.
According to Executive Director, Maxwell Gowon, the Nigerian troops are adequately prepared to deal with any form of violence that might erupt during and after the elections and will do so within the ambit of the law.
Read full press statement below
A coalition of Civil Society Groups under the umbrella of Coalition of Civil Society Groups on Human Rights and Conflict Management in a bid to assess the preparedness of the Nigeria military in ensuring that the 2019 general elections are hitch free security wise commissioned a systematic monitoring of the activities of the Armed Forces by deploying men and resources across the federation.
The theme of the monitoring was to gauge the level of preparedness and cooperation between the Army, Navy and Airforce before, during and after the elections. The report identified a couple of issues that were discussed under the following headings.
The Coalition of Civil Society Groups on Human Rights and Conflict Management observed the threats of violence in the polity by paid political merchants desperate to turn the tide in favour of their paymasters.
It was also observed that there are possibilities of attacks from terrorist organizations especially in the North East region of Nigeria.
There is also the possibility of outright provocation of military personnel in the South East region by adherents of the Indigenous People of Biafra.
The Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) has perfected plans to attack military personnel on election duty with a view to disrupting the polls.
It was however observed that the Armed Forces had deployed means quelling whatever uprising that may occur in line with the presidential mandate of ensuring that the human rights of every citizen of the country are safeguarded.
After a review of the military security architecture put in place, it was observed that the military has continued to maintain a very high standard of compliance with its human rights obligations to the citizenry through the continuous engagement by the Department of Civil-Military Relations.
There were also regular operational meetings by the Chief of Army Staff and Top Commanders of the Nigeria Army on how to curtail attempts by unscrupulous elements to infiltrate the troops.
There is a functional situation room that is linked to all military operational bases around the country which is highly commendable and indicative of the preparedness of the Nigeria Army towards ensuring the safety of lives and properties before, during and after the elections. This is quite commendable.
Based on the findings of the Coalition of Civil Society Groups on Human Rights and Conflict Management, the followings are recommended:
The Nigeria Army must continue to ensure that it’s troops deployed to provide security cover for the citizens as well as to uphold the highest level of standard.
The military authorities must put in place measures the would curb overzealousness amongst the troops and in the event of such, appropriate sanctions must be implemented to serve as a deterrent to others.
The military authorities must ensure that the welfare of the troops is adequately taken care of to minimize any form of enticement in the line of duty, especially those mounting checkpoints in strategic places.
The Chief of Army Staff must continue to ensure strict compliance with rules of engagement by the troops.
In conclusion, the Coalition of Civil Society Groups on Human Rights and Conflict Management is impressed with the level of preparedness and therefore of the opinion that the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria are adequately prepared to deal with any form of violence that might erupt during and after the elections.
The measures put in place are top-notch and in tandem with international best practices. Also, the level of coordination and cooperation between the various wings of the Armed forces (Army, Navy, and Airforce) is highly commendable.
The Coalition of Civil Society Groups on Human Rights and Conflict Management would deploy its members to monitor the polls to measure the level of compliance by the military on the rules of engagement.
In doing this, plans have been made to deploy cameras and other electronic gadgets that would aid it in its monitoring exercise.