Buratai orders clampdown on IPOB, South-East groups

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, on Monday said the Indigenous People of Biafra and splinter groups in the South-East were threatening to disrupt the 2019 General Elections.

He therefore ordered the General Officer Commanding and formation commanders in the South-East to clamp down on the activities of the groups.

Buratai said the military had information that “unpatriotic groups aided by foreign conspirators” were planning to scuttle the conduct of the 2019 General Elections, warning that the military would deal decisively with any security breach.

The army chief stated this in Abuja in his remarks at the Chief of Army Staff Operations Conference, a meeting which brought together the army’s apex administrative and operational commanders nationwide.

Buratai said the activities of the “outlawed IPOB” were gaining momentum and must therefore be stopped ahead of the general elections.

He said, “I have issued directives for Operation Safe Conduct of the 2019 General Elections. The army has produced a code of conduct handbook for personnel to guide them during the elections and copies have been distributed to all formations. The activities of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra and their splinter groups in the South-East part of the country is gaining momentum as the groups are threatening to disrupt the 2019 electoral process. Their excesses must therefore be clamped down on immediately.

“Furthermore, the political clashes in Taraba State and a few other states call for enhanced liaison between commanders, the Nigeria Police and other security agencies in order to de-escalate tension as quickly as possible.

“We have information of subversive motives by some unpatriotic groups aided by foreign conspirators to scuttle the peaceful conduct of the 2019 General Elections in some parts of the country. We hereby warn such detractors to immediately mend their ways. The army is working closely with the police and other security agencies to ensure an enabling environment for the citizens to exercise their civic rights. In this regard, General Officers Commanding and field commanders at all levels are to deal decisively with any form of security breach.”

He added, “Our role in support of the nations’ democracy cannot be over-emphasised. Hence, this conference will provide us the opportunity to review the conduct of Exercise Egwu Eke III before, during and after the general elections.”

The army chief said the military had provided 250 motorcycles and 147 vehicles, ranging from gun trucks to ambulances in the last three months to operational and administrative formations to enhance their operations.

“All army personnel must remain neutral, non-partisan and transparent in their actions. I need to reiterate that there will be zero-tolerance for any action and inaction, giving undue advantage to any candidate, political party, ethnic or religious leanings to the detriment of the unity and integrity of Nigeria.

“This includes knowingly or unknowingly receiving any form of inducement from politicians or other entities, be it public or private,” Buratai added.