By Tonia Okereke
The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Lucky Irabor, has confessed that security agencies are always under pressure to compromise elections in the country.
Speaking on Thursday while featuring at the 61st session of the Ministerial Media Briefing organised by the Presidential Communications Team at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Irabor, however assured that the military will remain neutral during the next election.
When asked if the military was prepared to ensure neutrality as directed by the President because of past incidents where some military officers tried to compromise electoral process because of pressure from politicians, Irabor replied: “I am glad that you reiterated the commander in chief‘s directive to the armed forces. I am afraid you say you have a worry. Rather than worry, I would rather think that trust should be anchored. Why? Of course, there will always be pressure from all quarters, wanting to induce security forces, not just the military, the security force, the police. And that’s what criminal enterprise is all about. That is what something that is wrong is all about.
“But what makes the difference is the professional approach to dealing with those issues. And that is what the military we are committed to doing. Now, the reason why we have ramped up our training in that regard, sensitisation, a lot of engagement across, you know, the formations and units are being undertaken. And then, more so to articulate code of conduct for all our personnel, which has been done and distributed.
“So, what, why should they act before, during and after the elections, these are being codified in the SOP that have been issued to them. So, it remains the duty of the commanders to ensure that the directive, as indicated, and the contents of the SOP is adhered to by every personnel in the armed forces.
“So, please cease from worrying, rather trust and also engage others to trust that we will keep faith to these desires.”
The CD also spoke of the key achievements of the military in the effort to keep the country safe including more recruitment into all branches of the security services, routing of insurgency and banditry as well as the action to curtail oil theft leading to increase in crude oil production”.