• Wike’s assassination claim included in inquiry
The Nigerian Army yesterday in Abuja inaugurated a committee to investigate allegations of misconduct against its personnel during the 2019 general elections.
The nine-member committee headed by Major General TA Gagariga was also mandated to probe allegations of assassination attempt on Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and the circumstances surrounding the killing of military personnel during the just concluded elections.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt General Tukur Buratai, said last week that the army headquarters had received formal complaints from governors of Bayelsa, Oyo and Ogun States on alleged professional misconduct against soldiers, prompting the military high command to set up a high-powered panel to look into the allegations.
Buratai, who spoke through the Chief of Army Administration, Major General Kay Isiaku, said the committee, which had since commenced work will submit its report not later than March 31, 2019.
He admonished the committee “to carry out their duties objectively, fairly and transparently in line with its terms of reference”.
The terms of reference of the committee include “a thorough investigation of the activities, actions and/or inactions of Army personnel in all the states that alleged one infraction/wrong doing or the other.
“The committee is also to collate and thoroughly analyse all reports to determine the veracity of the allegations including the alleged assassination attempt on Rivers State Governor and the circumstances that led to the shooting to death of Lt Kurmi as well as what led to serious injuries to an officer and some soldiers in the state.
“The committee is further mandated to visit all states where issues have been raised about the conduct of the Nigerian Army during and after the elections and also interact with civil society organisations, sister security agencies and state governors with claims against the army.”
The Chairman of the committee, Gagariga, assured the army chief and all Nigerians of the committee’s commitment, resolve and determination to objectively and professionally address the major issues as contained in its terms of reference.
Other members of the committee are Brigadier-General JM Ali, Brig-General GO Adeshina, Brigadier-General MA Obari, Col AT Bitiyong, Col A Tanko and Col WA Bakare and Lt Colonel PAJ Ebuk as secretary.
A statement signed by Army Spokesman, Col Sagir Musa read: “Lieutenant General TY Buratai had consistently indicated that under his watch, Nigerian Army personnel must remain apolitical, respect human rights and abide by the rule of law in all its official engagements within or outside Nigeria and in or out of conflict situation.
“Nigerian Army troops were deployed for the elections under Operation Safe Conduct that was set up to provide support to the Nigerian Police and other security agencies to ensure hitch free and successful elections in the country.