By Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Yusuf Buratai, has denied meeting with President Mohammadu Buhari and officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over alleged plans to rig the presidential election slated for Saturday.
In a statement issued last night, the army chief cited “unsubstantiated” media reports quoting a former official of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Timi Frank, who alleged that such a meeting between him, the President and INEC officials took place.
Buratai, in the statement said no such meeting took place.
“The Nigerian Army (NA) notes with dismay the unsubstantiated story published by dailypost.ng on February 19. The publication carried allegations by one Timi Frank, that a purported nocturnal meeting took place between the President and Commander -in-Chief of the Armed Forces and the COAS as well as some members of INEC and the President’s cabinet, to rig the forthcoming presidential election”.
“Whilst such an absurdity can be imagined to come from a known disgruntled person like Timi Frank, who has severally tried to malign the person of the COAS, the subsequent lackluster move by Daily Post to publish such unfounded tosh without investigation tells a lot about the reputation of the tabloid”, the statement said.
It further noted that “the deluded Timi Frank who claimed he had incontrovertible evidence provided by sources in the know about the alleged nocturnal meeting “however could not substantiate his accusations with any reasonable facts besides his concocted hogwash”.
“For the record, as well as for the education of the likes of Mr. Timi Frank, the President, C-in-C is at liberty to hold a meeting with his Service Chiefs at whatever time most suitable, which was not even the case here, as nothing of such happened.
“To this end, the NA would like to categorically warn mischief makers to steer clear of joining issues with the Institution or its leadership in matters that are purely political.”
“The NA is an apolitical institution and would continue to remain so while carrying out her constitutional responsibilities. Suffice to add that the NA has reported the said Mr. Timi Frank to the NPF for his immediate arrest and prosecution for fake news and related offences against the leadership of the Army.
“Finally, the NA also wishes to advise media houses to be fair and professional in their reportage, to avoid being tools in the hands of miscreants” the statement signed by Colonel Aliyu Yusuf, said.