By Akinwande Soji-Ojo
The Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, has explained why the military clamps down on persons who wear camouflage outfits.
Irabor spoke on Friday during an interview on ‘Sunrise Daily,‘ a Channels Television programme.
The Defence Headquarters (DHQ), had in a recent statement, warned politicians to stop wearing military uniforms for campaign purposes.
On several occasions, military personnel have been seen punishing civilians for wearing camouflage outfits.
Asked if it is an offence for civilians to wear camouflage-inspired designs, the defence chief said the military cannot allow everyone to wear such patterns owing to the “peculiarity” of the Nigerian society.
He said: “You know we live in a very peculiar society. I don’t need to restate what the make-up of our society is; what the level of discipline is generally.
“When you compare it to some other climes where a few individuals believe that whatever practice goes on in those societies should be replicated here, they discount the other elements of social life in those societies. They do not bring that to bear right here.
“So, with that in mind, the criminals among us have had to take advantage of the military gear, of course police and other security agencies, to perpetrate crimes.
“Whereas, ordinarily, we will be glad to see that our symbol is being used for a good cause. I can tell you a good number of those who use them have used them for ignoble causes and that brings us to a state where you begin to make certain assumptions.
“It is better for you to be safe first. Then, by virtue of our investigation, we can exonerate those who are using them for good causes. This is where we are.
“I believe that as we make progress as a people and as a nation, as we make progress with our awareness programmes and understanding of what statehood means, as we make progress in our understanding as to what national security issues are, then, of course, this setting will be properly put in context and appropriate actions will be taken at all levels to ensure that Nigerians do not see us in a very bad light, especially when they wear military gear.”