Army Denies Coup Plot, to Investigate Allegation

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Senator Iroegbu in Abuja

The Nigerian Army has said that it will launch an investigation into those behind the report that the military was planning to overthrow the civilian administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Reacting strongly to a story attributed to Niger Delta militants on the alleged plot by the military to overthrow the administration, the Nigerian Army said thursday that “its attention has been drawn to another campaign of calumny and distraction by a faceless criminal gang of economic saboteurs that hide under the aegis of Joint Niger Delta Liberation Force (JNDLF) alleging that some officers of the Nigerian Army approached them for support to overthrow our duly elected present democratic government”.

The army spokesman, Col. Sani Usman, said in a statement that the story was “baseless and most unfortunate”, adding that the allegation exists in the warped minds of the originators of such a weighty allegation.

Usman added: “The report is not true and the Nigerian Army hereby distances itself from this weighty allegation.

“We also see this speculation as a dangerous distraction to our effort in fighting the insurgency and other criminal elements in the country.”

The Nigerian Army, he said, would like to send a strong and an unequivocal warning to those speculating about a coup by the Nigerian Army against the government to desist forthwith.

Usman further stated that the army is a product of democracy and a focused professional institution and would have nothing to do with such abominable and heinous crimes.

He said: “We wish to state further that the Nigerian Army is the greatest beneficiary of democracy and therefore cannot ever contemplate any anti-democratic misadventure, certainly not under the command of the present Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Buratai.

“Rather, we see this type of dangerous speculation as a declaration of war to destabilise the present government by these unscrupulous elements.”

Usman assured the public that the army was investigating those behind what he described as “dangerous insinuations” in order to unravel the real motive behind it.

He also restated the unalloyed loyalty of the Nigerian Army to the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and to defend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“We would also like to reaffirm our unconditional support and obedience to civil authority,” the army added.

The army spokesman further assured Nigerians that the Nigerian Army and its personnel would never be involved in such a terrible misadventure.

“We wish to further add that no matter how long it takes, we would track and find out those behind these insinuations and bring them to justice,” the army pledged.

The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) also dismissed the report claiming that the military was planning to overthrow the administration.

Its spokesman, Brigadier-General Rabe Abubakar, in a statement yesterday, said the “report to say the least is not only baseless and misleading but the dream of those who do not wish the nation well”.

He said the story, which was attributed to some Niger Delta militants, was concocted to achieve cheap publicity, and complete propaganda and diversionary.

He stated: “The entire Nigerian Armed Forces therefore distances itself from this story as it is not only mischievous and baseless but with the intention of heating up the polity and causing public apprehension.

“The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Gabriel Olonisakin, wishes to assure our highly respected political leaders and all Nigerians that the military will continue to be apolitical and will do everything possible to defend and deepen our democratic governance which is the best, acceptable and legitimate form of government the world over.

“The DHQ restates its total subordination to civil authority and upholding the supremacy of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and will continue to defend all democratic structures and will never yield to blackmail and distractions from fifth columnist.”

Abubakar said that the unfounded story should be discountenanced in its entirety.

He assured the public that in dealing with the security challenges across the country, the military would continue to remain focused and deploy every available resources to reposition the Nigerian Armed Forces to carry out their constitutional roles.

Abubakar added that a new commander for Operation Delta Safe in the Niger Delta had been appointed.

The new commander, he said, is Rear Admiral Joseph Osa Okojie, who until his appointment, was the Flag Officer Commanding Naval Training Command, Lagos. His appointment is with immediate effect.

Operation Pulo Shield in the Niger Delta was recently scrapped and replaced with Operation Delta Safe, Abubakar recalled.