THE Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai, Wednesday, picked hole in Tuesday’s statement attributed to the presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, asking the Nigerian Army to disregard President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive they they deal ruthlessly with ballot box snatchers in the coming general elections.
Buratai, who said Atiku’s statement was most unfortunate given that he was in the highest level of government in the country before and knows fully that the Nigerian Army in particular and the military, in general, are meant to obey the orders of the Commander-In-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces to the latter, said they will treat Buhari’s latest order with exception.
To this end, he asked the former Vice President not only to withdraw the statement but to also apologise for attempting to invite the army against what he termed as “constituted authority” it was meant to fully obey.
Speaking at a meeting he held with the Principal Staff Officers, General Officers Commanding and Brigade Commanders ahead of the polls billed to commence this Saturday, Buratai warned politicians and their supporters against testing the will of the army, insisting that those found to have violated the law, will be treated in line with President Buhari’s directive.
Although he did not categorically mention the former Vice President’s name, his description of his target pointed to the Peoples Democratic Party presidential candidate.
The army chief disclosed that personnel attached to retired Army Generals, especially those who have become politicians will be withdrawn just as he said no political actors will be allowed army escort. He warned officers against playing partisan roles, saying those with such feelings had up to Friday, February 22 to resign.