The Nigerian Army says soldiers would not be present at polling units during the governorship and house of assembly supplementary elections scheduled to take place on Saturday.
According to the military, they would only be seen at areas identified as flashpoints.
Major General Hakeem Oladapo Otiki, the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 8 Division, Nigerian Army, Sokoto, said this while speaking with journalists in Sokoto State.
Otiki said the military would keep a “reasonably safe distance” from the polling units during the supplementary elections that are set to hold in Kano, Sokoto, Bauchi, Benue, Plateau and Adamawa states.
He revealed that they have taken note of major flashpoints in Sokoto and would ensure there is maximum security in such places.
He said: “We have so many unknown and unseen eyes on grounds in the flashpoints. The military will not be involved directly in the polling units. We shall keep a safe distance as demanded by INEC and our headquarters.
“We are restricted to playing our constitutional role of providing the last line of defence for the security agencies after exercising their roles.
“There is no cause to worry in the rerun elections. Sokoto is a sacred land, and it must not be desecrated because of misinformation. We have instructions to go in line with the natural order and maintain vigilance. To go strictly by the rules of engagement, respect the principal organs that are enshrined with the responsibility of conducting elections.
“We have identified the flashpoints likely to cause a breakdown of law and order, but we will wait for the Police to carry out their constitutional rights.
“The Army will not be at the polling units. We will only be at a safe distance. We can only come up if the line of defence for law-abiding citizens fails, that is when we can now come out. Though, we do not pray for that.
“We have the responsibility to maintain peace before, during and after the elections. Let’s remember that national peace and security is derivable from very robust relationships between and among ourselves.”
SaharaReporters, New York