18 May 2017
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike has advised the Army High Command to desist from posting soldiers to politicians, saying it is counter-productive and a threat to national security.
The governor said the Chief of Army Staff, General Tukur Buratai, should go beyond complaining that politicians are hobnobbing with soldiers and take action to check the disturbing trend.
This is just as the British government has warned against “non-democratic” change of government in Nigeria, amid concerns over Buratai’s warning on Tuesday to officers and soldiers in the Nigerian Army to steer clear of politics and politicians, whom he claimed were attempting to influence them.
He said the Nigerian Army headquarters had received information that some individuals have been approaching some officers and soldiers for undisclosed political reasons.
On this basis, Buratai warned such persons to desist from these acts and warned his men to remain apolitical.
However, speaking during the flag off of the construction of Old Aba Road by Mbano junction in Oyigbo Local Government Area Wednesday, Wike said all over the world, only the commander-in-chief has soldiers guarding him.
He regretted that in Nigeria, the authorities have made it a practice to allocate soldiers to politicians who are in the good books of the federal government, with such being soldiers used for undemocratic actions against the people.
He wondered: “Who are those approving battalions of soldiers to politicians? If they don’t want soldiers to follow politicians, they should stop giving soldiers to politicians.
“It is only in Nigeria that soldiers accompany politicians. They should stop soldiers from being security details to politicians.
“Somebody comes home and they will give him a battalion of soldiers and they say soldiers should not hobnob with politicians.
“All over the world, it is only the commander-in-chief that is allowed to use soldiers. But here, you see soldiers following politicians everywhere.”
Meanwhile, the British government Wednesday warned against “non-democratic” change of government in Nigeria.
Making the comment, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Ambassador Paul Arkwright, said: “The British government believes that democracy is actually critical in Nigeria.
“There are elections. If you’re not happy with your leaders then you should change your leadership through the democratic process and through elections.”