...Panel to visit states, interact with CSOs, others on claims against the Army
By Tunde Opalana, Abuja
The Nigerian Army has set up a 9- member investigative committee to probe all allegations of misconduct against its personnel during the 2019 general elections.
This is to ensure that troops deployed for election security duties during the 2019 general elections conducted themselves within laid down rules of engagement and the code of conduct of the army.
According to acting Director, Army Public Relations, Col. Sagir Musa, the investigative committee is headed by Maj. Gen. T.A. Gagariga with Brig. Gen. J.M. Ali, Brig. Gen. G.O. Adeshina, Brig. Gen. M. A. Obari, Col. A.T. Bitiyong, Col. A. Tanko and Col. W.A. Bakare as members and Lt. Col. Ebuk will serve as secretary.
He said in a press release that the committee is “to investigate all allegations of misconduct against the NA during the just concluded general elections. The committee is to submit its report not later than 31st of March, 2019.”
The committee, which has already commenced action, was inaugurated by the Chief of Administration (Army), Major General Kay Isiyaku, on behalf of the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai, and admonished to carry out their duties objectively, fairly and transparently in line with its terms of reference.
According to Col. Musa, the committee’s terms of reference centered on thoroughly investigating the activities, actions and/or inactions of NA personnel in all the states that alleged one infraction, wrongdoing or the other.
“The committee is also to collate and thoroughly analyze all reports to determine the veracity of the allegations, including the alleged assassination attempt on the Rivers State governor and the circumstances that led to the shooting to death of Lt. Kurmi as well as that leading to serious injuries to an officer and some soldiers in the state.
“The committee is further mandated to visit all states where issues have been raised about the conduct of NA during and after the elections and also interact with Civil Society Organisations, sister security agencies and state governors with claims against the army,” he added.
It would be recalled that Lt. Gen Buratai had at many fora, consistently (both in words and actions) soundly indicated that under his watch, army personnel must remain apolitical, respect human rights and abide by the rule of law in all its official engagements within or outside Nigeria and in or out of conflict situation.
Troops were deployed for the elections under Operation Safe Conduct that was set up to provide support to the police and other security agencies to ensure hitch free and successful elections in the country.
Chairman of the committee, Major General T.A .Gagariga assured the army chief and all Nigerians of the committee’s commitment, resolve and determination to objectively and professionally address the major issues as contained in the committee’s terms of reference.