The Nigerian Army has pledged its ready to provide a conducive atmosphere for the conduct of the 2019 general election, which is less than two weeks.
This commitment came from the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 1 Division Nigerian Army, Major General Mohammed Muhammad, when he was the guest of honour in Kontagora during the Nigerian Army Corps of Artillery (NACA), Nigerian Army Training Centre (NATRAC) and 311 Artillery Regiment combined West African Social Activities (WASA).
“Bearing in mind that we have less than 14 days to the presidential election our mandate at the Nigerian Army is to ensure peaceful conduct of the elections wherever our troops are.
“We are going to be providing support role to the civil security agencies, to ensure that they discharge their responsibility in an environment that is conducive for every Nigerian to come out and perform his civic responsibilities,” he said.
He however, reminded the troops of the directive that all army personnel must remain apolitical during the polls, warning that, “any personnel found wanting will be appropriately sanctioned.”
On WASA, the GOC said, “After work, it is good for officers to recreate and relate with one another as actual friends. It helps our system to achieve proper balance.
“It is pleasing that despite the huge involvement of the two formations and unit spanning from training to operations, to enhancing peace and security in Kontagora and its environs in particular and Nigeria in general, the year 2018 edition of WASA could still be held.”
General Mohammed while commending the officers and soldiers’ wives for keeping the home front while their husbands fight in defence of Nigeria, also prayed for the repose of souls for the officers and soldiers who died in the battle against insurgency.
Similarly, the Commander NACA, Major General Abubakar Tarfa who traced the history of WASA to colonial era said, during the Second World War, the fore bearers of the soldiers under the West African Frontier Forces (WAFF) distinguished themselves in many battles owing to their diverse cultural inclinations.
“The colonial authorities thereafter introduced WASA and made it an annual event to permit the African soldiers to observe their local cultural rituals.”
General Tarfa added that while it is true that enormous security challenges faces the nation, 2018 was busy and eventful for the Nigerian army, as it strived to live up to expectations.
He, however, assured that the Nigerian Army will remain consistent in its collaboration with other security agencies to ensure security of lives and properties, and peaceful coexistence of all in the country and particularly their host communities.
Highlight of the occasion was presentation of awards to outstanding personnel who distinguished themselves during the 2018 training and operational year.