SAN FRANCISCO, May 17, (THEWILL) – Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State on Wednesday advised the Army High Command to desist from posting soldiers to politicians, stating that it is only in Nigeria that soldiers serve as orderlies to politicians.
He spoke in response to a warning by the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, that officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army should steer clear of politics and politicians, who he claimed were attempting to influence them.
The Army Chief noted that some individuals have been approaching some officers and soldiers for undisclosed political reasons, but warned his men to remain apolitical.
But Wike said Buratai should go beyond complaining about politicians hobnobbing with soldiers who are posted to protect them, and take actions that would checkmate the disturbing trend.
Speaking during the flagoff of the construction of Old Aba Road by Mbano junction in Oyigbo Local Government Area of Rivers State, Wike said all over the world, only the commander-in-chief has soldiers guarding him.
He regretted that in Nigeria, the authorities have made it a practice to allocate soldiers to politicians loyal to the federal government, with such soldiers being used for undemocratic actions against the people. He pointed out that such practice is counter-productive and a threat to national security.
According to the governor: “Who are those approving battalions of soldiers to politicians? If they don’t want soldiers to follow politicians, they should stop giving soldiers to politicians.
“It is only in Nigeria that soldiers accompany politicians. They should stop soldiers from being security details to politicians. Somebody comes home and they will give him a battalion of soldiers and they say soldiers should not hobnob with politicians.
“All over the world, it is only the commander-in-chief that is allowed to use soldiers. But here, you see soldiers following politicians everywhere.”