18 March 2019

Nigeria: 'Buratai Should Apologise for Army's Partisanship in Elections'

Abuja — Former deputy national publicity secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Timi Frank, is demanding a public apology from the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, over the partisan role of soldiers in the recent general elections.

In a statement yesterday, Frank said he had been vindicated after the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) indicted the military over its disruptive role in the elections in Rivers State.

He said it was surprising that he was tagged a "protagonist of fake news" by the military authorities that were uncomfortable with his stance when he raised the alarm.

Frank described the military's involvement in the 2019 general elections as shameful, just as he challenged the army to name just one country in Africa or the entire world where their colleagues brazenly take sides during elections.

He called on the International Criminal Court (ICC), human rights organisations and international community to take note of what he described as "a show of shame and wanton subversion of democracy" by the Nigerian army under Buratai.

"Therefore, the honest declaration by the INEC regarding the involvement of military under Buratai in the Rivers State governorship election is a shame and I deserve apology from the Nigerian army for tagging me a 'protagonist of fake news'."

But Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) said the decision of the army to investigate the allegation of undue interference by soldiers in the polls would require more openness and inclusion for the people to trust the investigation.

In a statement signed yesterday by the national coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, it charged the army to ensure that ministers do not deploy soldiers to achieve political goals, which was what happened in Rivers and Bayelsa states.

The pro-democracy non-governmental organisation, made the observation against the backdrop of Buratai's initiative to probe the accusations against his operatives during the elections.

It also called on the army to be more open to constructive criticism, especially from very friendly quarters like the United Kingdom on the alleged misconduct of some armed security forces, adding that cleaning up the mess is more important than waging public relations war against UK.

Nigeria

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