Following recent allegations of violence, voter suppression and intimidation in favor of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), the Nigerian Army has blamed these events on political thugs who were allegedly kitted by politicians to impersonate the agency’s personnel.
Backstory: The defensive statement was made by Acting Director of Army Public Relations, Colonel Sagir Musa on Sunday, where he claimed that politicians were not only providing these thugs with uniforms, but also supplying ammunition used to cause havoc across the country, to achieve their selfish political goals.
“Credible intelligence available to the Nigerian Army has confirmed the kitting of political thugs with military uniforms and arming of same, to impersonate soldiers and perpetrate various crimes in the furtherance of the activities of their political bosses.”
Col. Musa also stated that the uniforms and the military-type weapons provided to these thugs make it hard for civilians to make accurate distinctions between them and real security personnel executing their duties, which has resulted in the thugs “being wrongfully viewed and addressed as real military personnel on various social and mainstream media channels including blogs, chat rooms and messaging platforms thereby bringing the reputation of the Nigerian Army on several occasions to disrepute.”
Bottom Line: The soldiers who were wreaking havoc in Rivers state were not hired thugs, unless the Army is admitting that its men were indeed hired to commit malpractice. There’s been too many instances of bad actions committed by men of the Army. What Musa and his superiors should be doing is working hard to leave behind a professional fighting force, but that is difficult when the bosses are just as deeply involved.