Sanwo-Olu arrest of errant soldier: Veterans show height of indiscipline in threat to boycott Armed Forces Day

Civil society coalition, Oodua groups say members ready to mobilise against Veterans

By Omolade Adegbiyi

A well known human rights coalition has expressed shock at the threats by a new group, Coalition of Concerned Veterans (CCV) threatening to boycott Army Veterans Day over Lagos Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu sanction of errant soldier who placed himself above the law.

The Nigerian Human Rights Community, (NIHRCO) in a statement on Tuesday said the veterans who issued the statement are renegades who seek to subvert democracy.

“The rule of law has no special consideration for any one, armed or defenceless. Veterans should epitomise discipline, respect for law and orderliness. The Army all over the world is usually rated as one of the most disciplined institutions. For a group of Veterans to support acts of brigandage by the errant soldier is the height of indiscipline and irresponsibility that no country should condone” the NIHRCO official Mr Adeleye Taiwo said in a statement made available to Irohinoodua on Tuesday.

He said at the heart of the inability to subdue terrorism in Nigeria is a lack of discipline and the infiltration of the security forces by thugs and anti-culture elements.

A group calling itself Concerned Veterans had given a five-day ultimatum to Sanwo-Olu to apologise to the soldier who flouted traffic rules.

The group asked the Governor to personally apologize to the Chief of Defense Staff (CDS) for what they call “public misconduct.”

But the so called Veteran Coalition was silent on the unruly behavior of the soldier in a country that was once ruled and ruined by the military which later set up political parties designed to sustain its spirit of bad leadership and state terror which Nigeria has been battling from 1999 when the country returned to civilian rule.

The rights group said Sanwo Olu is the No 1 enforcer of Law in Lagos and has the legal and moral right to arrest any erring individual armed or defenceless.

“It is curious that a group which parades itself as Armu Veterans seem to condone gross indiscipline and appears to see the Constitution as something that soldiers can trample upon.

“These Veterans are expected to be parents. What manner of children are they trying to raise? What manner of a country are they trying to build when they think a lawless soldier is above the law? These elements appear to be remnants of tyranny that are envious of democracy and are doing everything possible to subvert the will of the people,” urging Nigerians to be ready to confront such elements where ever they are.

NIHRCO said it is ready to mobilise thousands of Nigerians, including children and women to the Army Day celebration to confront the forces of darkness represented by the so called Concerned Veterans

The group said it is convinced that the Chief of Army Staff General Taoreed Lagbaja, noted for his professionalism and high level of discipline, is embarrassed by the lousy group of fake Veterans who want to set back Nigeria on the path of military opportunism in politics.

The Veteran group said the demand for apology stems from the governor’s order to arrest a soldier on the Lagos-Badagry Expressway last week Tuesday and his subsequent remarks that were captured in a viral video.

The group’s spokesperson, Abiodun Durowaiye-Herberts, said failure to apologize will result in Lagos State being in trouble during the 2024 Armed Forces Celebration and Remembrance Day.
He said he already wrote to the Governor.

“In that letter, a 5-day ultimatum is given to the Governor to leave his comfort Zone in Lagos and come down to Abuja and apologize to the Chief of Defense Staff (CDS) and by extension, the Armed Forces as a whole, for his ‘public misconduct’.”

“We want to state clearly, the Governor has no right to use such derogatory word on a soldier, no matter what his offence is.

“The Governor has offended our constituency. Those who know him or close to him, should get the message across to him. An injury to one is injury to all of us.”

In its response, an official of Oodua Nationalist Coalition, (ONAC) said the so called Veterans are subversive agents working for anti-democratic forces to undermine the Government of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

“I was a soldier. I fought in the Nigerian Civil War. Soldiers’ first tradition is discipline. What the soldier did was bad. In other countries, he would be arrested, jailed or fined. Soldiers should help build a nation not to destroy it. It is the lack of respect for law in Nigeria that is responsible for violent cultism, street brigandage, terrorism and backwardness. The so-called Veterans may have been paid to subvert democracy which is nothing but treason” Sunday Akinnuoye, an official of ONAC told Irohinoodua.

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