Ahead of the 2023 general election, the chief of defence staff (CDS), Lucky Irabor has vowed to resist pressures from politicians, who may want to use the military to compromise its neutrality.
Irabor, while speaking at the 61st briefing at the State House, organised by the Presidential Media Team, in Abuja, on Thursday, admitted that although the Security agencies come under intense pressure to compromise, assured they will “resist such pressures to maintain its neutral”
He stated that “the security agencies and the military constantly come under pressure to compromise elections through various financial inducements”
“We call on Nigerians to anchor their trust in the military as they will continue to strive to maintain neutrality”
The assurance is coming amid fears that the 2023 general election may be unrealistic as entrenched interest groups threaten communities against participating in the elections, even as the facilities of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Nigeria’s election umpire, has constantly come under attack.
But Irabor, while providing updates and strides by the military in the fight against insurgency, terrorism and banditry, said “security personnel are being trained to follow the codified rules of engagement before, during and after the elections”
The CDS who admitted that he could not completely rule out Internal sabotage within the security system, but asserts that the efforts were in to weed out bad eggs, to ensure efficiency.
“We have put in place, all the necessary contingency plans to assist the Police in the 2023 general elections as well as safeguard all critical national infrastructure
“We reminded apolitical and subject to the civil authorities as stipulated in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
“We have continued to appeal to our people that the security agencies, like all the apparatuses of the state, are not anti-people. There is nothing like partisanship when you are talking about governance. Yes, during political campaigns, various political parties canvass for votes by selling their manifestos, but once a party wins and forms a government, it becomes a government of all of us. You don’t bring partisanship into governance”
The CDS while speaking on his achievements in office, revealed that security operations in the Niger Delta has helped to reduce crude oil theft in the region
He disclosed that Nigeria lost about N1.9 trillion worth of crude oil to vandalism, adding that the situation has been reversed
Irabor also revealed that over 300,000 persons have been freed from the hands of bandits and kidnappers by the military since 2016 while refugees who fled the northeast owing to insurgency have started to return.
He also disclosed that a total of 1500 repentant Boko Haram activists have been rehabilitated, while 600 others are currently under training
Speaking on the destruction of a seized oil vessel in the Niger Delta sea, Irabor admitted that the action was motivated by the need to end stealing of crude, adding that “cost benefit analysis is involved in every decision we take. We look at what the strengths and benefits are. We are dealing with economic losses of great proportion.