The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, has warned officers of the Nigerian Army not to mingle with politicians or play politics under any pretext.
Buratai also said any officer who flouted the order would be severely dealt with.
The COAS, who spoke on Saturday during a visit to the 9 Brigade Nigerian Army Cantonment, Ikeja, where over 500 soldiers were on parade, said indiscipline of any nature among the soldiers would not be tolerated.
He said, “I want you to remain apolitical. Any soldier seen fraternising with politicians or engaging in politics will be dealt with. We must be responsive in the discharge of our duties and be our brother’s keeper. There must be esprit de corps.
“We must collaborate with other security agencies such as the police, security and civil defence corps and so on. You must have a good relation with the civil populace. Respect their fundamental human rights. You must not molest any civilian but uphold our constitutional roles at all times.”
Buratai further said his visit was meant to interact with the officers in the units and formations as expected of a new COAS.
The COAS further said, “It expected that a new chief of army staff should go round the units and formations to talk to the officers, listen to them and identify with their needs.
“Due to the operations in the North-East, I devote most of my time to the region. I then decided that I have to see you because as military professionals, we have to combine all the operations and perform well.
“Your colleagues in the North-East and Niger Delta are doing well. I know you are doing well here too. Some of you once operated in the North-East and Niger Delta. There are challenges of oil banditry and we will tackle it. We must always compose ourselves professionally and responsibly.”
The army chief, who disclosed that the Nigerian Army had ordered the purchase of some uniforms, noted that the era of mixed uniforms among soldiers across units and formations was over.
According to him, the issue of welfare, logistics and accommodation of officers will be taken care of.
In a related development, the Nigerian Navy, on Saturday, warned its personnel against abusing the rights of civilians.
The Flag Officer Commanding, Eastern Naval Command, Rear Admiral Atiku Abdulkadir, said the warning became necessary to maintain and sustain civil-military relationship.
He issued the warning in Calabar, Cross River State, while addressing ratings and officers of the command.
Abdulkadir said the Navy would not tolerate any of its personnel found abusing the rights of the civilian populace.
He said, “We are uniform men and women, it is expected that we don’t abuse the rights of civilians whom we have sworn to protect. We must also be sound and resolute in the performance of our duties, but we must respect the rights of the civilian populace.
“There is a lot of wrong perception about the military by members of the public, we must conduct ourselves properly and observe basic rules.”
According to Abdulkadir, it is important for personnel of the navy to follow the basic rules and do what is right in other to maintain the existing civil military relationship.
He said, “If you follow the basic rules and do the correct thing, the interpretation will be that we are living up to expectations. These are the ways we must conduct ourselves so that we can positively contribute to the security in the water ways and the well-being of the nation.
“If you cross the boundary from doing what you are suppose to do and start conducting illegal activities, other members of the security agencies can either pick you up or report you.”
The naval chief further said what the naval headquarters expects from the command is zero tolerance to illegality.
The FOC said the illegalities were primarily but not limited to crude oil theft, and illegal oil bunkery.
Abdulkadir added, “We have from time to time recorded incidences of pipeline vandalism and sea robbery in our maritime environment. We have that big challenge that we must bring it to nearly zero occurrence and we have time limit.
“We must have 24 hours presence at sea, in the water ways, and within our area of operation.”