The Nigerian Army has said that troops of Exercise Python Dance III with some Security Operatives have arrested a number of thugs in Sokoto with dangerous weapons in their possessions.
Army spokesman, Brig Gen Sani Usman said in a statement on Sunday that the thugs were arrested with customised sticks and other weapons.
According to him, 16 of the arrested thugs have been documented and handed over to the police for further action.
He, however, noted that there have been undue pressures on Security agencies to free the thugs while raising concern about the clash between the police escort of a serving Senator and a DSS operative on the matter.
“While still conducting the search, a prominent politician in the state and a serving Senator, came to the scene and ordered his mobile police escorts to release them.
“In the process, the Department of State Service operative was molested and his clothes torn. The patriotic and professional officer still held on to the seized weapons. Similarly, another prominent politician from Zamfara State had earlier tried to influence the investigation of arrested armed political thugs,” Brig Gen Usman said.
READ ALSO: Army Reveals New Boko Haram Plot To Win Confidence Of Locals
He further noted that “These undue pressures and attempts to interfere with the conduct of the Exercise for selfish reasons are indeed worrisome and disturbing and will not be tolerated.”
According to the Army spokesman, troops have always been “professional, impartial and apolitical and will continue to be so”.
He added that ” Since the operationalization of the Exercise in January 2019, we have arrested thugs armed with dangerous weapons across the various political parties, without fear or favour. The thugs were documented and handed over to the police. We have noted with great concern that such criminals usually find themselves back into society without any sanction”.
He, however, assured Nigerians that the army is ever committed to creating a conducive and secure environment for the smooth and peaceful conduct of the forthcoming general elections in the country.
He further noted that the army would not tolerate any undue interference from any quarters in the discharge of its noble responsibility. Hence the force has resolved to hold on to any arrested criminal or armed thugs till the end of the elections.
“All Commanders have been further directed to continue to carry out their duties diligently, despite the provocation from some misguided elements,” Brig Gen Usman stressed.