The military high command, on Thursday, warned unknown gunmen and members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) against threats to scuttle the 2023 general elections in the South East.
It also said no territory was under the grip of terrorists, bandits and other criminals, although they may be present in some local governments.
The Director, Defence Media Operation, Maj.-Gen. Musa Danmadami, gave the warning at Defence Headquarters, Abuja while answering questions during a media briefing on the activities of troops attached to various operations across six geo-political zones in the country.
“Election will be held as scheduled in the South East. No gunman or unknown gunmen or what is it called can stop the election. We have continued to carry out various operations and we will continue to carry it out,” he said.
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Daily Trust had reported how IPOB members had beheaded the Chairman of Ideato North Local Government Area of Imo State, Christopher Ohizu, and how they had been threatening to stop elections in the South East zone of the country.
Danmadami added, “No territory is being held on to by the terrorists, bandits or other criminals. Yes, we have several pockets of them in some parts of the country, which is why operations are going daily.
“Of course, they may be disturbing some local government areas, but to say they have a territory they hold on to, no!
“Like I told you, we’ve been carrying out a lot of operations to make sure that their enclaves are destroyed and eliminated. On the election, the Chief of Defence Staff had said repeatedly that the armed forces would remain apolitical.
“The police are the leading agency as far as election matters are concerned, they have the mandate, while other security agencies would support them to achieve this. I can tell you that any unwanted act during elections would be dealt with decisively.”
On the killing of herders in the airstrikes in Nasarawa State, the senior military officer said he would not want to comment on the issue since the state governor, Abdullahi Sule, had already spoken.
Daily Trust reported how 38 herders in the Rukubi community of Doma Local Government Area of Nasarawa State were killed in airstrikes by the military.
The herders, multiple sources said, were killed while returning from Makurdi, the Benue State capital, where they went to retrieve over 1,000 cows seized by the Benue Livestock Guards.
Meanwhile, Governor Sule yesterday met with the leadership of Meyeti Allah Kautal Hore led by its National President, Alhaji Abubakar Bello-Bodejo, in Government House, Lafia.
Our correspondent reports that no fewer than 200 leaders of the Fulani communities in the state, including those from Benue state attended the emergency meeting.
The governor urged the family of the victims to be calm, assuring them the matter would be thoroughly investigated.
By Idowu Isamotu & Umar Muhammed (Lafia)