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Criminals Cannot Stop Elections in the South-East, says Nigerian Army


 Criminals Cannot Stop Elections in the South-East, says Nigerian Army

The Nigerian military has stated that criminal elements threatening to disrupt the 2023 general elections in the South East lack the ability to suppress the military and other security agencies in order to enforce their threat.

The military insisted that the elections would not only take place in Ebonyi State and other South-East states but would also be peaceful and successful, saying, “We have superior weapons and superior strategy to deal with the miscreants.”

Lt. Col. Sunday Atomode, Commanding Officer 24 Support Engineering Regiment, Abakaliki, stated this in a chat with journalists in Abakaliki on Monday, saying the military had already made plans to ensure peaceful and successful general elections in Ebonyi State and other parts of the country.

He said: “Let me say this, elections will hold in Ebonyi State peacefully. Those saying that there won’t be elections in Ebonyi State and South-East do not have what it takes to suppress the military and other security agencies in the state.

“They do not have anything to suppress us. We have superior manpower, we have superior weapons, and superior strategy to tackle the miscreants. We are assuring the people that the election will come and go. We have plans already for a peaceful and successful election in the state.”

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Atomode disclosed that since he assumed command in Ebonyi State, the military in joint operations with sister agencies, had raided and destroyed many training camps of miscreants and assured that the tempo would continue until a securitized environment is achieved for the citizenry.

“Since I took over command on August 31st, 2022, we have charted a new course for inter-agency collaboration in Ebonyi State. We have been able to work effectively with the DSS and the Nigeria police to ensure we have security in place in the state. One of those measures we have put in place is joint patrol with the men of the Nigeria police and the DSS. We have ensured that this comes on a routine basis. And we have charted a course for the sustenance of momentum in that regard. So, a lot is being done and a lot will be done. It’s a steady and gradual process and I believe, with time, we shall get there.

“We came up with a modus operandi that is much better to get these people in their training camps rather than coming out of the streets to look for them and then creating disturbances to the law-abiding citizens of the state. So, since I assumed command, we have had joint operations to some of the hideouts of these criminal elements. We have conducted a series of operations like the one we had in Egedege forest, Obeagu community, and other areas in the state where we have been able to successfully destroy the training camps of these miscreants, and as I said, most of these are joint operations and I believe that the police have made press statements to that effect over time. We will continue to do that in other known areas where these mad elements are hiding to dislodge and fish them out in order to have a securitized environment ahead of the 2023 general elections.”

Beyond the use of a kinetic approach, Atomode said the command had leveraged civil/military cooperation activities to win the hearts and minds of the populace to eschew crimes and support its fight to keep the country safe and peaceful.

“We do a lot in terms of leveraging our civil/military cooperation activities. We do a lot to win hearts and minds because the battle pace of the modern era has shifted significantly. So, winning the war is no longer the emphasis in warfare, winning hearts and minds is much more supreme in modern-day warfare. So, civil/military cooperation activities come to mind when it comes to winning hearts and minds. And we have done a lot in that regard.

“We have distributed educational support materials to school children in Ohaukwu and Ezza North LGA of Ebonyi State and we conducted medical outreach at Obeagu community in Ishielu LGA, shortly after our operation there, because we had a lot of fake news, saying that the military went there and looted, burn people’s houses, and so on, but if we have done that in all honesty, we wouldn’t have had the courage to go to the same community to conduct a medical outreach.

“And the turnout for the medical outreach by the locals was a testimony that the military did not do anything untoward during the military operation in the area.

 Criminals Cannot Stop Elections in the South-East, Nigerian Army

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