Chief of Defence Staff, CDS, General Abayomi Olonisakin, has defended the militarisation of the just concluded general election, saying if there was no such deployment of the military, the security situation in the country would have been jeopardised.
Speaking yesterday in Abuja during the orientation programme for Senators-elect and members of the House of Representatives-elect of the yet to be inaugurated 9th National Assembly, General Olonisakin said: “The armed forces of Nigeria derived its authority from p1 s3, 217 of the 1999 Constitution which provides for the armed forces of Nigeria comprising of the Nigerian Army, the Nigeria Navy and the Nigeria Air Force.
“During the just-concluded general election, the success of the electoral process was almost hampered by the security situation in some parts of the country. Many crises-prone areas were properly manned by security services to ensure that the electorate were secured enough to carry out their civic duties of electing candidates of their choices.
“There have been various arguments by different positions of political parties and other stakeholders of the legality and otherwise of the military in support of the civic authority in the election process. A critical area of support that was provided and perhaps not very visible to the public is the deployment of military logistics capabilities. Especially naval and air access to support the movement of materials across the country.
“I need to reiterate that this deployment is in line with constitutional role of the Armed Forces of Nigeria as earlier stated. Even in the last general election, the security situation in the country during the election process is better imagined if the military had not been deployed to perform their secondary responsibility, thus the effect of security on governance is an important aspect that lawmakers, military personnel and the civil public need to understand in other to make the right decisions.
“A good understanding of these dynamics will enable political leaders and public officials to make realistic decisions and enact laws to achieve national security objectives. Over the years, the Armed Forces have built various capacities to enable it perform our various goals. This capacity development is dependent on a number of factors, including training and the availability of adequate platforms which had direct impact in improving the capability of the armed forces of Nigeria in the field and subsequent effect on national security.”
On the need to fund the Armed Forces, Olonisakin said: “The major challenge of the capacity of the Armed Forces is the limited budgetary allocations to meet the need of the armed forces of Nigeria.
“I had often maintained that a well-trained and well equipped and adequately motivated armed forces of Nigeria cannot be funded through budgetary allocation alone.”