Criticism against soldiers' conduct in Rivers polls insincere - Security expert

Criticism against soldiers' conduct in Rivers polls insincere - Security expert

- Much has been said about the activities of the military in Rivers state during the just-concluded general elections

- Many Nigerians have said that some officers of the Nigerian Army were high-handed in carrying out their duties during the polls

- However, a security analyst, Comrade Oladimeji Odeyemi, has said that the situation would have been much worse in the state, if not for the military

A security analyst, who is also the convener of the coalition of civil society groups against terrorism in Nigeria, Comrade Oladimeji Odeyemi, has aired his views concerning the conduct of the just-concluded general elections.

With regard to the presidential poll, Odeyemi said that it was generally peaceful as confirmed by international observers, except for some pockets of violence in some parts of the country, The Independent reports.

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Odeyemi, who is also a counter-terrorist expert, said: "The presidential election was substantially free and fair as adjudged by local and international observers. Expect some few places where we had little disturbances.

"But the general overview is that the elections were credible and represents an improvement on our previous elections.

"If you look at the total number votes returned from some parts of the country, you’ll realise there were reductions, compared to 2015, and that shows that we are beginning to curtail incidences of over-voting, and the card readers have been more efficiently used in this election."

He added: "Yes, we must agree that even in so-called advanced democracies, there has never been a perfect election anywhere in the world.

"But the significance of this election is that it was conducted in an atmosphere devoid of interference by the Presidency, unlike what we used to experience in the past. Several stakeholders, both locally and internationally have come to confirm that the election was credible, free and fair."

Concerning reports about the action of the military in the elections, especially in Rivers, Odeyemi said that soldiers played a major role in averting large scale violence across the state, adding that if not for the armed forces, the situation would have been worse.

Adding that those criticising the military are not sincere, he said: "The military has played a crucial role of stabilising the security apparatus during the election, especially in Rivers State. There could have been a lot of massacre in that state, if not in the whole political region if the military were not available to douse the few pockets of violence.

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"You must also remember that in the course of maintaining law and order during this election, the Army lost one of its personnel to those brigands who nearly turned an election into war, in Rivers State. Therefore, those criticising the role of the army are not been sincere."

Meanwhile, reported that a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Asari-Toru local government area in Rivers state, Tobotamuno, had been reportedly arrested by some soldiers for an undisclosed offence.

According to's regional reporter in Rivers, Tony Ihunwo, Boma Goodhead, the lawmaker representing Akuku-Toru/Asari-Toru federal constituency in the House of Representatives, had called for PDP's chieftain's immediate release. ( -> Same great journalism, upgraded for better service!

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