Deployment of soldiers for 2019 polls, legal – Olonisakin
NEWS DIGEST–The Chief of Defence Staff, Gen Abayomi Olonisakin, on Thursday defended the militarisation of the just-concluded elections.
He said if military personnel were not deployed for the elections, the security of the country would have been jeopardised, adding that the crisis could only be better imagined.
Olonisakin spoke in Abuja at the ongoing orientation programme for senators-elect and members of the House of Representatives-elect.
He said the deployment of military personnel during the 2019 was constitutional, as the military personnel’s role could be described as their “secondary responsibility.”
The CDS spoke on the topic, ‘Issues on Security and Governance.’
Olonisakin solicited the lawmakers’ support for effective funding for the military if it must effectively and efficiently carry out its constitutional duties.
The CDS said the military needed funds outside its budgetary allocation, noting that it was considering an alternative means of funding.
Olonisakin said, “During the just-concluded 2019 general elections, the success of the electoral process was almost hampered by the security in some parts of the country.
“Many crisis-prone areas were properly manned by security services to ensure that the electorate were secured enough to carry out their civic duties of electing candidates of their choices.
“There have been various arguments by different positions of political parties and other stakeholders on the legality and otherwise of the military in support of the civic authority in the election process.
“A critical area of support that was provided and perhaps not very visible to the public is the deployment of military logistics capabilities, especially naval and air access, to support the movement of materials across the country.
“I need to reiterate that this deployment is in line with constitutional role of the Armed Forces of Nigeria as earlier stated.
“Even in the last general elections, the security situation in the country during the election process is better imagined if the military had not been deployed to perform their secondary responsibility.
“Thus, the effect of security on governance is an important aspect that lawmakers, military personnel and the civil public need to understand in order to make the right decisions.
“A good understanding of these dynamics would enable political leaders and public officials to make realistic decisions and enact laws to achieve national security objectives.
“Over the years, the Armed Forces of Nigeria have built various capacities to enable them to perform our various goals.
“This capacity development is dependent on a number of factors including training and the availability of adequate platforms which have direct impact on improving the capability of the Armed Forces of Nigeria in the field and subsequent effect on national security.”