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Reps Disagree Over Military Deployment For Elections; As Human Rights Boss Backs Call For Troops

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A rowdy session marked Wednesday’s session in the House of Representatives, after members disagreed over military deployment for the March 28 and April 11 elections.

The lawmakers had barely started the debate over the role of soldiers during the polls, before it turned sour, with members divided along party lines, triggering a rowdy session.

The All Progressives Congress, which now has majority members in the House, had before now voiced their dissatisfaction with the intention to use the military for security purposes during the 2015 polls, while the ruling Peoples Democratic Party supported the deployment of the military.

Some of the leaders of the APC in the House passionately defended their stance on the matter on the floor of the House in what led to a heated argument with their PDP counterparts.

Earlier on Monday, The Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Professor Chidi Odinkalu, backed the call for troops to take charge of security to ensure peace in the forthcoming general elections.

Professor Odinkalu said “Nigeria was in a state of war”, which justified such an action inline with the Geneva Conventions Act”.

He further stressed that in 2013, the office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court decided that Nigeria was in a civil war while the NHRC in 2014, also determined that Nigeria is in a civil war.

“We cannot in 2015 deny that Nigeria is in a civil war. We don’t have the assets to protect all of Nigeria. If you were to deploy just the Police and the Civil Defence, let’s be honest about this. We don’t have the assets to protect all Nigerians in this election given the fact that we are in a civil war.

“It is the Commander in Chief and the Governors, who swear to protect the people and they will take responsibility for the lives of the people,” he said, emphasising that whatever decision that would ensure the protection of lives and property should be supported.

The leader of a terrorist group, Boko Haram, attacking communities in Nigeria’s north-east had threatened to disrupt the elections.

But the military said it was committed to ensuring the safety of Nigerians during the forthcoming polls.

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