“Soldiers should be confined to barracks and put on alert -Femi Falana Kicks against Militarisation of 2023 General Election

Human Rights activists and renowned lawyer, Femi Falana SAN has stated President Muhammad Buhari should not allow the armed forces in the conduct of the general election as it is on record that members of the Nigerian armed forces were indicted by the courts for their involvement in the rigging of the 2003 general election.

Accoridng to Falana, soldiers should be left in the barracks and be on alert as their major duty is territorial integrity and not electioneering.

In condemning the anti democratic role of the military deployed by President Obasanjo to prosecute his “do or die” agenda, the Court of Appeal held in Buhari v Obasanjo (2005) 1 WRN 1 at 200 that “in spite of the non-tolerant nature and behaviour of the political class in the country, Nigerians should by all means try to keep armed personnel of whatever status or nature from being part and parcel of the election process.


Falana said that in a bid to warn the armed forces to keep away from the electoral process, the Court of Appeal said in Yussuf  v Obasanjo (2005) 18 NWLR (PT 956) 96,  that “It is up to the police to protect our nascent democracy and not the military, otherwise democracy might be wittingly or unwittingly militarized. This is not what the citizenry bargained for in wrestling power from the military in 1999

According to Falana, “civilian authorities should be left to conduct and carry out fully the electoral processes at all levels.”

In a statement Falana issued on Friday, February 24, he said the Supreme Court (Per Pats-Acholonu JSC) said in Buhari vs. Obasanjo (2005) 50 WRN 1 at 133 that “…in this day and age in this country that has been independent for 45 years we can still witness horrendous acts by security officers who ought to dutifully ensure peace and tranquility in the election process, suddenly turning themselves into agents of destruction, and introduced mayhem to what ordinarily would have been a civilized way of exercising franchise by the people who are sovereign, is regrettable.”

Femi Falana made reference to the 2015 election “where the leading officials of the APC, sensing that the armed forces would be mobilized for rigging, immediately approached the Federal High Court for legal redress. Thus, In Bello Goronyo v The President Justice (Suit No FHC/S/CS/29/201, the Federal High Court (per Justice Mohammed Rilwan Aikawa). ruled that other than for the purposes of protecting the nation’s territorial integrity, no constitutional provision allows for the deployment of the military for elections.”


Justice Rilwan added that for the Federal Government to do so, it must have taken recourse to the National Assembly, which would enact such law.

The Judge restrained the President and INEC from engaging the service of the Nigerian armed forces in the security supervision of elections in any manner whatsoever in any part of Nigeria, without the Act of the National Assembly”

Another reference is in the suit of between  Femi Gbajabiamila v The President (Suit No FHC/L/CS/1210/15), the presiding Judge, Justice Ibrahim Buba, in his ruling, declared that it is unconstitutional to deploy military for the supervision of election without the approval of the National Assembly. Consequently, the Court restrained the President Goodluck Jonathan-led Federal Government from deploying the military to supervise the coming general elections.

He said during the Ekiti State governorship election in June 2014, the National Human Rights Commission probed the electoral crimes and confirmed that members of the armed forces were hired  by criminally minded politicians to rig the 2015 elections.


Femi Falana SAN said on the basis of the aforementioned cases, the APC requested former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Professor Attahiru Jega not to allow the Jonathan administration to deploy the armed forces in conducting the 2015 General Election.

Falana suggested that President Buhari should not allow the armed forces in the conduct of the general elections saying armed soldiers  should be confined to their barracks and put on the alert.

“Since the Federal Government has restricted the movement of people throughout the country, the police, anti graft agencies and para military forces should be deployed by the Inspector-General of Police to maintain law and order during the 2023 General Election,” he said.

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