APC writes GEJ, Jega over the use of soldiers during elections

by Kolapo Olapoju

The All Progressives Congress has written a letter to President Goodluck Jonathan and the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Professor Attahiru Jega, requesting full compliance to the judgment barring the participation of soldiers in elections in the country.

The letter, dated February 16, 2015, was sent out from the office of the Director, Legal Services of the APC Presidential Campaign Council, Chukwuma-Machukwu Ume (SAN).

The letter was addressed to Jega, however, copies were also sent to the President, the National Security Adviser, the Chief of Defence Staff, the Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Naval Staff, Chief of Air Staff and the National Chairmen of the APC and the Peoples Democratic Party.

In the letter, the opposition party brought to the attention of the federal government, the judgment delivered on January 29, 2015 by Justice R.M. Aikawa of the Federal High Court, Sokoto and a similar one by the Court of Appeal, Abuja, on February 16, 2015 which barred the use of military in elections.

Justice Aikawa of the Federal High Court, Sokoto, had restrained the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and INEC “from engaging the service of the Nigerian armed forces in the security supervision of elections in any manner whatsoever in any part of Nigeria, without the Act of the National Assembly.”

While Justice Abdul Aboki, in his judgment in the Ekiti State Governorship Election appeal on February 16, ruled that “even the President of Nigeria has no powers to call on the Nigerian armed forces and to unleash them on peaceful citizens, who are exercising their franchise to elect their leaders.”

Therefore, the APC, in its determination to see that the rulings are adhered to wrote to the relevant stakeholders.

The opposition party’s letter read in part: “I am sure all well-meaning Nigerians share your deep seated concern on the militarisation of our elections. It is therefore imperative your good office and commission ensure, henceforth, and until there is an enabling Act of the National Assembly, the court orders are obeyed and armed forces personnel are never again deployed in any form of security supervision of our elections.”

“Whoever unleashed soldiers on Ekiti State, disturbed the peace of the election on June 21, 2014; acted in flagrant breach of the constitution and flouted the provisions of the Electoral Act, which required an enabling environment by civil authorities in the conduct of elections.”

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