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Military probes officers, politicians over coup scare

By Segun Olaniyi (Abuja) and Alabi Abdul (Kaduna)   |   25 May 2017   |   4:30 am  

Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai

• Affirms support for democracy, Buhari govt
The military has begun an investigation into an alleged coup plot by its personnel and some politicians.

Recently, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai alerted the public to a suspicious relationship between some military personnel and politicians. The alarm has triggered anxiety over a plot by certain quarters to truncate the nation’s democracy.

At a press conference in Abuja yesterday, the Director of Defence Information, Major General John Enenche, alongside the directors of information units of the Nigerian Army, Air Force and Navy, declared that there was no truth in the rumour that some officers had planned a coup against the current administration.

Enenche said the military was committed to the sustenance of the current democracy and loyal to President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, and that any coup from any quarter would not have the backing of the armed forces.

The defence information director enjoined Nigerians not to be afraid of any coup, saying all levels of military commands were making troops to remain focused and be conscious of the oath of allegiance they took to protect the constitution of the country.

Although Enenche was evasive in confirming that a panel had been set up to probe the alleged coup plan, his response revealed the move.

“It was reported that some of our personnel have been exchanging visits for undisclosed political reasons. What I will tell you here is that we have set in, as it were for that particular case, an administrative machinery.

“It will not be good for us at this point to tell you something that may not be true and to retract it, it will not be healthy for the general public. Let us allow time and administrative procedures. When you talk about possible investigation, it takes some little time and I believe we are still within that little time. So, be patient,” Enenche said.

The Guardian learnt that the panel was secretly constituted last week by the military authorities and was given the mandate to interrogate suspicious officers with a view to ascertaining their levels of culpability or otherwise in the alleged action.

“ We are not a different world from what is happening all over the whole world. Our armed forces, the present crop of officers and soldiers, were modelled. We are in tune with the best international practices of governance, and that’s democracy, and we are for it.”

Enenche, who had earlier told journalists that the briefing was aimed at clarifying the statement credited to the Nigerian Army about relationship between some civilians and army personnel, said: “Professionally, it is a command’s responsibility to caution officers and men on routine basis to conform to the ethics of the military in all ramifications, which include interactions and exchange of visits among others.

“This command’s responsibility is exercised right from the highest echelon such as the office of the Service Chiefs down to the lowest levels of command. Hence, the caution from the army in this case.”

According to him, the alarm over romance of some army officers with politicians and subsequent warning to officers penultimate week by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt General Tukur Buratai, was not out of place.

Meanwhile, retired members of the Nigerian Armed Forces under the aegis of Coalition of Concerned Veterans (CCV) have warned against a coup plot, saying that any attempt to destabilise democracy would force them back into uniform.

Also, the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has vowed to use every available means to resist any coup, saying democracy has come to stay in Nigeria.

The National President of union, Comrade Abdulwaheed Odusile stated this at the NUJ national colloquium on elections, corruption and roadmap to 2019 organised by the Kaduna council, in collaboration with the Pax-Community Partnership Projects (PCPP).



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