Human rights lawyer Femi Falana has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to demilitarise the country and send soldiers to the barracks as Nigerians head to the polls.
He made the call in an opinion piece on Friday where he described the development as ‘anti-democratic”.
“The civilian authorities should be left to conduct and carry out fully the electoral processes at all levels,” he said, citing several cases where the courts ruled that the military should be less involved in the political process.
“In view of the foregoing, President Buhari should not allow the armed forces in the conduct of the elections.
“Instead of terrorising voters, 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 paramilitary forces should be deployed by the Inspector-General of Police to maintain law and order during the 2023 General Election.
“President Buhari should be reminded of the cautionary words of the Court of Appeal in Yussuf v Obasanjo (supra) that ‘it is up to the police to protect our nascent democracy and not the military, otherwise democracy might be wittingly or unwittingly militarised. This is not what the citizenry bargained for in wrestling power from the military in 1999.'”