The Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, yesterday pledged the loyalty of the military leadership to democratic rule in the country.
Irabor, who was speaking on a television programme, ahead of the Armed Forces Remembrance Day, also stated that the military was now well-focused on performing its constitutional roles.
He declared: “Today, I believe that Nigerians are no longer in doubt as to the subordination of the military to civil rule; I believe that no one is in doubt that democracy has come to stay.
“I believe that no one is in doubt any longer that the current military leadership, and of course, since the democratisation in 1999, that the military is well-focused on performing its constitutional roles.”
The CDS admitted that some Nigerians might still be struggling with the experience of military involvement in politics in the past.
Irabor’s declaration is coming amid recent military coups in West African countries such as Mali and Guinea; as well as North-Eastern African country of Sudan.
Speaking on the significance of the Armed Forces Remembrance Day, Irabor stressed the need to educate the coming generation about the nation’s history.
“Going forward, I believe that some of these misperceptions that some Nigerians have had with respect to military engagement will begin to change.
“I am sure you also know that issues that have to do with civic responsibilities still require a little push; I am sure you know that literacy level in the nation still requires a little push; and so when you bring these factors among several other things, you know that quite a lot of work needs to be done,” he said.
Speaking on the crackdown on the use of military gear by civilians, the CDS stated that the present security situation “does not allow the use of military gear by people who are not personnel of the Defence Headquarters (DHQ).”
He said: “The criminals among us have had to take advantage of the military, police, and other security agencies’ gear to perpetrate crime.
“We live in a peculiar society. I do not need to restate what the make-up of our society is, what the level of discipline is generally.
“And when you compare it (Nigerian structure) to some places where a few individuals believe that whatever practice goes on in those societies should be replicated here, the other elements of social life in those societies; they do not bring that to bear right here.”
He also assured Nigerians that the DHQ would continue to take appropriate actions to ensure that they don’t see the military in a bad light when they wear its gear.
“Ordinarily, we will be glad to see that our symbol (gears) is being used for good causes.
“A good number of those who use them have used them for ignoble causes and so, that brings us to a state where you begin to make certain assumptions.
“So, it is better for you to be safe first, then by virtue of your investigations, you can exonerate those who are using them for good causes. This is where we are.”