The Acting Director Defence Information (DDI), Brig.-Gen. John Agim on Monday at the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja gave a stern warning to the military personnel not to wear uniform on election day.
Agim, during a news briefing, said any personnel found wearing uniform on elections day without being on duty will be arrested and prosecuted in line with the military justice system.
According to him, every personnel is free to exercise their civic duty to vote as the constitution of the country guaranteed that.
“They must approach their polling units in mufti, devoid of any military accoutrement.
“Let me emphatically state that the Defence Headquarters has warned that all Officers, Soldiers, Ratings, Airmen and Women of the Nigerian Armed Forces must remain neutral and exhibit exceptional professionalism before, during and after the upcoming elections.
“With the exception of those on essential duties, no military personnel should be found wearing uniform on the election days,’’ he said.
The acting director said the military must be neutral, free from impartiality and adhere strictly to the professional code of conduct before, during and after the general elections.
He said that the armed forces would only support civil authority in providing security when requested to do so, in line with its constitutional roles, for the conduct of free, fair and credible elections.
Agim used the briefing to clarify that the ongoing nationwide Exercise Egwu Eke III or Python Dance and other similar exercises were not targeted at any individual or groups.
He added that it was not aimed at manipulating the electoral process.
“The exercises are to ensure that all eligible citizens, irrespective of their religion or political inclinations, are given the opportunity to carry out their civic right to vote and be voted for in a peaceful environment devoid of violence and intimidation by criminal elements.’’
He said the exercises were necessitated by threats from some unpatriotic individuals and dissident groups to stop people in some parts of reassured from casting their votes on elections days.
“Let the public be re-assured that no persons or group of person have the right to deny or intimidate eligible voters from performing their constitutional obligations.
“Therefore, all efforts of the military are to assist other security agencies to ensure that no Nigerian is disenfranchised.’’
Agim warned those planning to cause trouble during the elections that anyone found disrupting public peace would be dealt with in accordance with the laws of the land.
He said: “All military commanders have been tasked to ensure adequate security in their Areas of Responsibility.
“They have also been further directed to ensure the adherence to code of conduct and rules of engagement in the discharge of their duties.
“These assigned tasks include arrest of anyone in military uniform who is not on essential duty on those days.
“Likewise, any civilian caught in military uniform will be treated as a terrorist.’’
Agim said that the military had been inundated with alleged reports of illegal importation of military equipment and uniforms into the country.
He said that the report was being investigated.
To those planning to scuttle the election in some parts of the country, Agim warned them “to desist from such unpatriotic act.’’
He said anyone caught involved in such action, “whether serving or retired military personnel or civilians, no matter how highly placed will be arrested and treated in accordance with the extant laws of the land’’.