How Army harassed our delegates, electoral officers using Buhari CSO’s name – NYCN alleges

The National Youth Council of Nigeria, NYCN, has alleged that a
certain Lieutenant, named Gbekumo Temple of the Nigerian Army led a
team of military personnel on an alleged illegal duty to manipulate
its just concluded National Unity Convention which held Gombe State.

NYCN claimed that the armed military personnel invaded the premises of
the election with the aim of manipulating the poll in favour of one of
the officers' brother, who was an aspirant.

The youths said over the years, they had always collaborated with
security operatives to ensure adequate security during its congress, a
reason for which they demanded military men to safegaurd the

The, however, claimed that the military men led by Lieutenant Temple
stationed at the premises of the Congress and started harassing
electorial officers and delegates during the elction in July.

In a petition addressed to the Chief of Army Staff, Gen Yusuf Buratai,
the body described the personnel's actions during the congress as

The petition which was signed by Dickson Akoh and Oscar David Kalu,
Chairman and Secretary of NYCN's Board of Trustees, BoT, said: "the
attitude of the officers became extremely aggressive".

The petition quoted the military personnel as saying they were
allegedly detailed by the Chief Security Officer, CSO to President
Muhammadu Buhari, "to take over the security of the Congress and do a
particular bidding".

The petition reads, "Over the years, anytime a Congress is to be
conducted, the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), the Nigerian Security and
Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), the State Security Service and the Man
'O' War are usually invited and detailed to monitor and secure the
venue of the Congress to prevent any form of unruly behaviour from
members of the Council or any intruder who may want to cause mayhem or
disorder during the Congress.

"The just-concluded Congress held in Gombe followed the same trend by
inviting officers of the Nigeria Police Force led by an Assistant
Commissioner of Police who is the Area Commander in charge of Gombe
Area Command, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, the State
Security Service and the Man 'O' War to monitor the election and
maintain security at the Congress. This was done in line with the
tenet and the spirit of the Council's Constitution, what is obtainable
in the civilize climes and the objectives the Council seeks to uphold.

"It was, therefore, to our greatest surprise that on the 20th day of
July, 2018 when the activities of the Congress had commenced, officers
of the Nigerian Army led by one Captain, fair in complexion with a
little beard whose name is unknown, accompanied by one Lieutenant
Gbekumo Temple with mobile number 0806xxxxxxx mobilized and arrived
the venue of the Congress with over four Hilux Truck of officers of
the Nigerian Army fully with Artillery Guns", the petition reads.

"While most of the Nigerian Army officers appeared in combat uniforms,
some were in casual wears. They intimidated members of the Council by
facing two Hilux vehicles mounted with Artillery Gun on members of the
Council who were casting their votes at the Congress. The said
officers of the Nigerian Army took over the work of the other security
agencies and prevented them from carrying out their duties at the
Congress. They intimidated members of the Board of Trustees of the
Council, Stakeholders, and Elders of the Council and ordered us to
leave the venue of the Congress.

"The said Officers of the Nigerian Army even went as far as going
after some members of the Electoral Committee who refused to do their
bidding and attempted to snatch the ballot papers meant for the
election. The names of the Members of the Electoral Committee
intimidated by the Officers of the Nigerian Army are Comrades Gbadebo
Taofeek, with phone number 08023131926 and Samson Onoja with phone
number 08064469132, the Secretary and Member of the Electoral
Committee respectively.

"The officers of the Nigerian Army also intimidated the official
camera and Video men detailed to cover the Congress. The names of the
Camera and Video men all resident in Gombe State are Mr. Ijahu Ijabani
with phone number 08060792354 and Mr. Andrew Magaji with phone number
07069677777 respectively. They were prevented from covering the
activities of the Congress and the illegalities perpetrated by the
officers of the Nigerian Army."

But they noted that "Upon discreet investigation, we discovered that
the instruction was not from the CSO to the President but that one of
the aspirants by name Mr. Bala Shagari Mohammed Bello has an elder
brother who is a Nigerian Army Officer with the Military Intelligence
Corps and who in fact came with the officers to ensure they deliver
his brother. After the election, the Nigerian Army Officers were seen
congratulating and celebrating Mr. Bala Shagari Mohammed Bello".

The petitioners promised to provide "eyewitnesses, video and
photographs evidence to support these allegations" before a panel,
which they urged Army authority to set up, for proper investigation
and adequate sanctions.

NYCN expressed great concern that, "The Nigerian Army will allow
itself to be dragged into such an ugly trend of meddling into the
affairs of a youth-based organisation like the Council", adding that
it "would potent danger for the Nigerian Youth in future elections of
the Council or even Nigeria as some may still reoccur in future".

Calls put across to the Army Spokesman, Texas Chukwu went unswered.

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