IBB warns Jonathan over deployment of soldiers for elections

Posted by News Express | 16 August 2014 | 3,533 times

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Former military president, General Ibrahim Babangida, has warned against continued use of the military in providing security during elections.

Babangida issued the warning in an interview with newsmen in his Hill Top Mansion in Minna, Niger State, to mark his 73rd birthday, which comes up tomorrow.

President Goodluck Jonathan, as the Commander- in-Chief, has developed a template for providing security during elections using soldiers along with other security forces.

He did this in the governorship elections in Anambra, Edo, Ekiti and, last week, in Osun states.

Some opposition parties have been kicking against the practice which they have described as antithetical to democratic ethos. 

According to General Babangida, continued usage of soldiers in election duties would not be in the interest of anyone including even the military itself, which he said could soon be compromised as was done with the police.

“I don’t believe the military should supervise elections. I don’t believe they should participate in them...I was already an officer in the Nigerian Army in the 60s and there was no military presence in the streets in those days but the police. I think it is high time we restored the glory of the force.

“I am not sure military guys should be involved in these civic duties. It cannot continue like this. I don’t believe the military guys should be seen on the streets,” Babangida warned.

He argued that political leaders should be equal to the challenge of elections, even where the task appears complex.  

“Up till date, there are places that you need logistical support by the political leaders. For example, there are boats in the creeks of the Niger Delta. The boats can access remote villages and townships in that region, not the road, during the elections.

“So, I can see a government that would say okay, if you go to villages in the creeks and we have boats that can get in there, you can ask those people operating the boats to use their boats in ferrying ballot boxes to such places that cannot be easily accessed through the roads and that is perfectly okay. But I don’t believe the military guys should be seen on the streets,” Babangida said.

Excerpted from a Saturday Tribune report. Photo shows Gen. Babangida.

Source: News Express

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