- The Chief of Defence Staff said deployment of the military during 2019 general elections was constitutional
- According to Olonisakin, if the military was not deployed during the elections, the security situation of the country would have been worsened
- According to the defence chief, the deployment helped in preventing Nigeria from being thrown into war
General Abayomi Olonisakin, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), on Thursday, April 4, disclosed that if the military was not deployed during the 2019 general elections, the security situation of the country would have been jeopardised.
Olanisakin who made this known in Abuja during the orientation programme for senators-elect and House of Representatives members-elect, said the deployment of the army during the election was constitutional, The Nation reports.
According to him, the success of the electoral process during the just concluded general elections was almost hampered by the security in some parts of the country. He said security agencies manned crises prone areas to ensure that the electorate were secured enough to carry out their civic duties of electing candidates of their choices.
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On the legality of military deployment during elections, he said: "There have been various arguments by different positions of political parties and other stakeholders of the legality and otherwise of the military in support of the civic authority in the election process.
“A critical area of support that was provided, and perhaps, not very visible to the public, is the deployment of military logistics capabilities, especially naval and air access to support the movement of materials across the country.
“I need to reiterate that this deployment is in line with constitutional role of the armed forces of Nigeria as earlier stated. Even in the last general election 2019, the security situation in the country during the election process is better imagined if the military had not been deployed to perform their secondary responsibility thus the effect of security on governance is an important aspect that lawmakers, military personnel and the civil public need to understand in other to make the right decisions."
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The defence chief said the armed forces must be funded outside the ritual budgetary allocation, adding “if the military must do what it ought to do, it must be funded appropriately."
He said the major challenge of the capacity of the armed forces of Nigeria is the limited budgetary allocations to meet its needs.
“I have often maintained that well-trained and well equipped and adequately motivated armed forces of Nigeria cannot be funded through budgetary allocation alone. Accordingly, the Defence Headquarters had proposed that we need to consider alternative funding options for the armed forces of Nigeria in addition to the budgetary allocation," he added.
Olanisakin said the Armed Forces of Nigeria will continue to count on the support of the National Assembly to enact appropriate legislations that will support capability development of the military, security sector reform, appropriate funding and other initiative. He said this will enable the armed forces support national security and good governance.
Recall that Legit.ng reported that the Nigerian Army on Saturday, March 2, said its activities in the just-concluded presidential and National Assembly polls were within the ambit of the law and rules of engagement.
Reacting to allegations of partisanship, coercion and shooting of voters in some areas across the country during the elections, it said that soldiers deployed on election duty were professional and proactive in their conduct.
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