SAHARANEWS – The Nigerian Army has reacted to a statement issued by President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday that all those planning to snatch ballot boxes will be risking their lives.
SaharaNews had earlier reported that President Buhari, on Monday, during the emergency national caucus meeting of the APC at the party secretariat in Abuja, said he has directed security agencies to be ruthless to anyone found wanting during the elections.
“Anybody who decides to snatch boxes or lead thugs to disturb the election, maybe that would be the last unlawful action you would take. I have given the military and police the order to be ruthless.
“I am going to warn anybody who thinks he would lead a body of thugs in his locality to snatch boxes or to disturb the voting system; he would do it at the expense of his/her own life,” Buhari said.
The statement is already generating negative comments with many saying the president’s directive is a veiled sanction to security operatives to kill (extrajudicially) those who run afoul of the electoral law.
National leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, has, however, defended the president saying President Muhammadu Buhari was ‘misinterpreted’.
The Electoral Act prescribes two years in jail, not death, for persons found guilty of snatching or destroying election materials.
Reacting, however, the Nigerian Army on Monday said it will obey ‘totally and effectively’ such order if it is given by President Buhari.
“If the Commander-in-Chief has given order to the Nigerian Army to that effect, be rest assured that order will be totally and effectively obeyed without any ifs or buts,” Army spokesperson, Sagir Musa told newsmen.
The Nigerian Army had earlier said it would deploy personnel for the elections, but only on contingent bases on the outer perimeter of communities rather than near polling units.
The Police is yet to officially react to the controversial directive by the President.