Deal decisively with ballot snatchers, Buratai tells army commanders

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The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, on Wednesday held a strategic meeting with field commanders in Abuja, ordering them to deal decisively with ballot box snatching, thuggery and other electoral crimes during the elections.

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President Buhari had ordered the security agents to deal ruthlessly with ballot box snatchers during the elections.

The army chief, while addressing the commanders said electoral offenders, particularly ballot box snatchers would be dealt with during the elections.

He said thuggery, snatching of ballot boxes, illegal possession of election materials and similar crimes were common antics of politicians witnessed in previous elections in the country.

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Buratai noted that this time around, “the army will adopt a proactive posture that ensures that similar incidents do not even arise.”

Buratai said, “…I want to remind us that the acts of thuggery, snatching of ballot boxes, illegal possession of election materials and similar crimes are intended to mar an election and create deliberate avenues for post-election violence and mayhem.

“Accordingly, I wish to lay emphasis on the following actions that all commanders are to abide by one, commanders must deal decisively with any electoral crime or action that would be inimical to national security. Two, commanders are to ensure that they and their personnel do not hobnob with politicians at any level.

“In this regard, there will be no military escort for any politician and all army personnel are to steer clear of retired military officers especially those who are now politicians until after the elections.”

Buratai also said the army would always be loyal to the constituted authority and the Nigerian state.