Paul Obi in Abuja
The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) thursday confronted the Senate and Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, over the comment credited to him that military coup dâ€™ etat is still possible in the country.
According to the Director of Defence Information, Brig Gen John Agim, such comments do not in any way represent the aspirations of the military in a democratic setting in todayâ€™s Nigeria.
He argued that the statement linked to Ekweremadu at its best, portrayed the Nigerian military in a bad light and as an undemocratic institution before the eyes of the Nigerian public.
Agim said: â€œThe Defence Headquarters wish to respond to a comment by the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu on March 7, 2018, regarding the Nigerian military, while contributing to a debate on a motion sponsored by Senator Ahmed Ogembe, representing Kogi Central.
â€œIn his comments among others, the deputy senate president stated: â€œThe problem in Nigeria is that our democracy is receding. Who says army cannot take over, let us not joke with our democracy that is the issue.â€
He added that the â€œstatement may appear cautionary and sincere in the atmosphere of discourse, it is however derogatory to the army used in the expression and by extension to the armed forces of Nigeria. â€œThe statement in the true sense has the capacity to denigrate the Nigerian military in every ramification including its loyalty to the president, commander in-chief of the armed forces and the confidence of the public to defend Nigeriaâ€™s democracy.
â€œIn the light of this, the Defence Headquarters wish to state clearly that, the Nigerian military has come of age and is in tune with best international military practices of complete and total subordination to democratic governance.
â€œIn this regard, it is worthy to remind the public about some key measures among others that guaranteed the present sustainable status of politically unambitious members of the armed forces:
â€œShortly, after the transition from a military to a democratically elected government in 1999, officers of the armed forces of Nigeria, who were quasi-political, were honourably eased out of service.
â€œThis was done to avoid indoctrination of other officers in the military in order to enable the democratic government commence a re-professionalisation process of the armed forces. â€œThe process commenced in collaboration with international organisations such as the United States armed forces and the British military.
â€œBy 2009, from the basic military training institutions through units and formation reorientation programmes to top management workshops and seminars for the military, it became clear that the armed forces of Nigeria has been re-professionalised to be totally subordinate to political leadership and democracy in the country.â€
Agim stated that â€œin addition, the Nigerian military began to take the lead at ensuring that the West African sub-region is stable democratically through military diplomacy and physical actions where it is highly desirable and supported by ECOWAS.
â€œThe case of the Gambia last year is still fresh in our memories, where democracy was enforced by an ECOWAS military coalition led by the Armed Forces of Nigeria, under the focused and abled leadership of Nigeriaâ€™s Chief of Defence Staff, General AG Olonisakin.
â€œFurthermore, the present crop of personnel in the armed forces of Nigeria right from the service chiefs to the men; are made up of the balance of re-professionalised officers and fresh intakes from 1999, who do not nurse political ambitions.
â€œThey are fully committed to their oaths of allegiance to serve their fatherland Nigeria, with total submission to our democratic government.
â€œDefence Headquarters hereby assures the international community, Nigeriaâ€™s democratic institutions and the public, of its unalloyed loyalty to the President, Commander in Chief, provision of all necessary support for the sustenance of our democracy and carrying out our constitutional roles.
â€œTherefore, the apprehension by the Deputy President of the Senate should be totally disregarded,â€ Agim stated. Meanwhile, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) yesterday warned that negative information dissemination has the potential of affecting the nationâ€™s national security.
NAF Chief of Administration, Air Vice Marshal Ibrahim Yahaya, gave the warning at a one-day training workshop for journalists in Abuja.
According to Yahaya, â€œinformation management in todayâ€™s world is critical to national development and the way it is processed could affect national security positively or negatively.
â€œUnder the current leadership of the NAF of Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar and present DOPRI Director, Air Vice Marshal OAlatokunbo Adesanya, has left no stone unturned in the quest to enlighten the internal and external publics about NAF activities.â€
Speaking, Adesanya stressed the imperative of media in national development, arguing that, as military work hard to ensure security, the media must also align with the military in partnership for security purposes.
Adesanya tasked the media to take its functions and reportage as a responsibility for an effective and efficient national security.