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Gen. Lucky Irabor, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS)

2023: Military will be apolitical, professional – Irabor

Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Lucky Irabor and President, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr Yakubu Maikyau during a courtesy visit by NBA to DHQ in Abuja on Wednesday 

By Sumaila Ogbaje

Abuja, Dec. 14, 2022

The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Lucky Irabor, has reiterated the stance of the Nigerian Armed Forces to remain apolitical and professional during the 2023 general elections.

Irabor stated this when the President, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Yakubu Maikyau, led members on a courtesy visit to the Defence Headquarters on Wednesday in Abuja.

He said the military had been working with the police and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to provide security during the election period.

“By virtue of our assessment we have been able to put in place a contingent that will enable us to be of assistance to the police if the need arises.

“We have also taken measures, by virtue of focused training, to ensure that if the need be, to assist the police in the course of the election. It will be professional.

“Not only will it be professional, the armed forces remains apolitical and we will be unbiased certainly.

“That is the commitment that we are making to Nigerians hence, Nigerians should have faith in that declaration that we have made.

“We remain subject to the civil authority; we are men and women of the law, obeying the constitution and ensuring that the democratic values are protected and advanced,” he said.

Irabor stressed that the armed forces of Nigeria had maintained an upward trajectory since 1999, adding that the military had continued to evaluate itself on performances and the level it needed to attain.

He said there was need for partnership with organisations such as NBA for the greater good of the nation.

According to Irabor, the involvement of the military in internal security operations might not be the best for democratic setting but because of the dynamics of the security challenges being faced by Nigeria.

“It has become incumbent on us, by virtue of the constitutional provisions that empowered Mr president to direct us to be part of the security provision within the internal space as we find it currently.

“This we will continue to do but we will like to assure you that in no distant time, given the result that we have gotten thus far, that we will see a gradual reduction of the military in internal security space.

He said the military would give room for the police and other civil establishments to show greater prominence in addressing all security concerns in the country.

“We are hoping that never again will we experience what we saw in the past where it was becoming as if the nation’s security architecture was greatly in peril to the extent that we almost became helpless,” Irabor said.

The defence chief called on NBA to do more in the adjudication of criminal justice in prosecution of terrorism, insurgency and other related cases.

He said NBA truly remained the partner because what the lawyers were doing had direct relationship with the defence and security of the nation.

Earlier, Maikyau, commended the Armed Forces for the successes being recorded in the fight against insecurity across the country.

He said members of the legal profession and those of the armed forces were meant to be natural partners by protecting the law of the land and territorial integrity of the nation.

He called on all Nigerians to appreciate the sacrifices of military personnel, saying that any institution responsible for keeping Nigeria secure and united should be appreciated by the NBA.

Maikyau also called on the military to ensure utmost neutrality in the forthcoming general elections, urging them to remain unbiased in the discharge of their duties during the elections.

On the prosecution of suspected terrorists awaiting trial, the NBA president pledged to work with the military and the government to speedily dispense of the cases.

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