By Temitope Owotoki
The Nigerian Army has warned the United Kingdom against interfering in Nigeria’s elections following the comments of the British High Commission in Nigeria that the role of the military in the Rivers State elections was improper.
The Commission had in a series of tweets on Monday expressed concerns over the report of military interference in the election in Rivers State, saying that military interference in the polls put stress on the staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and has made it difficult for them to carry out their duties.
Colonel Sagir Musa, the acting Director of Public Relations, in a statement titled, ‘Re: UK expresses concern over military involvement in Rivers poll’, said that the allegations were baseless. The statement said its men contributed to the electoral problems in the state.
“Foreign interests are enjoined to be mindful of interfering in our national internal affairs especially when there is no credible evidence. Any allegation against the NA must be confirmed from appropriate quarters before jumping to conclusions,” the Army said.
The Army said there was no evidence to show that its men compromised the exercise.
“The NA wishes to state that the statement is totally baseless, untrue and therefore capable of misleading unsuspected members of the public, especially when there is no credible record of such involvement anywhere in Nigeria before, during and after the 2019 elections.
“The NA, as a responsible organisation, wishes to debunk such misrepresentation in order to set the record straight. Similarly, it is on record that the NA has been globally applauded by many individuals, foreign and local elections observers for its sacrifices/roles in creating an enabling environment for a secure, transparent and peaceful conduct of the elections,” the statement said.
The Army maintained that politicians gave hoodlums military uniforms which confused members of the public.
It promised it would continue to remain neutral during and after the polls, adding that it was only providing assistance to civilian security agencies.
“The NA has also drawn the attention of the public to mischievous activities of some selfish individuals who recruited thugs dressed in military uniform and armed to harass and intimidate their opponents. In some cases, as reported, and as indicated in various intelligence reports, – hoodlums dressed in military fatigue snatched ballot boxes and other electoral materials. Some INEC staff were reportedly abducted,” the Army said.