THE NIGERIAN ARMY'S INTERFERENCE IN PURELY CIVIL ACTIVITIES: The besiege of Afaraukwu Community by soldiers
Right or Wrong?
In a press interview published by This Day Newspaper on 13th February 2020, the Service Chief of Nigerian Army, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai in reaction to the public outcry over the subsisting security loophole and eventual partial collapse in the country which has led to the several and divergent mass loss of innocent Nigerians, explained that Internal security is not the primary responsibility of the Military.
In his word, "any one who blames the Military for the security lapses in Nigeria does same out of ignorance"
The same service chief had hitherto insisted that the Army is duty bound to maintain peace and order during the February 23rd Presidential and National Assembly election in 2019. He feigned ignorant of a court pronouncement that directs the Nigerian Army to hands off in electoral processes.
Although he promised that his men shall be neutral, the military flopped the said election. Shall we not blame the Military for such undue interference?
More so, we have the understanding that the Military is fighting the insurgency that bewilders the residents of the Northeastern region especially Bornu State and we try aligning the above understanding with the recent news that no fewer than 20 travellers were massacred; others injured; many abducted; cars set ablaze, by the Boko Haram on Sunday the 9th February, 2020 when the Military locked the gate to the village of Auno, 24km away from Maiduguri city centre claiming that it was a security strategy.
Should we desist from blaming the Army on this?
Just some days ago before the burial of Late Eze Israel Okwu Kanu (the traditional ruler of Isiama Afaraukwu in Umuahia, Abia state) and his wife Ugoeze Sally Mmeme, who both died in 2019, it was reported that security agencies comprised of police and soldiers were deployed in their large number to lay siege on the community. No armed insurgents in the vicinity, no mayhem whatsoever.
Should we commend such officious intrusion by the military?
No doubt, the Constitution in Section 217(2)(a) & (b) provides that the Army is to defend Nigeria from external aggression and maintain its territorial integrity. But it further provides under (c) that at the instance of the President, the army should suppress insurrection and aid civil authorities within Nigerian.
Mr. President is therefore obliged to make good use of the Army.
He should not use them to obstruct electoral processes or purely communal ceremonies in the guise of maintaining peace and order.
The deployment of soldiers to the vicinity of Afaraukwu community where Late Eze Israel Okwu Kanu and the wife were to be buried was uncalled for.
Military should be used internally only in cases where the police cannot handle like Boko Haram.