The Nigerian Defence Headquarters (DHQ) Wednesday assured Nigerians that no form of military coup dè tàt and takeover of government will be supported or encouraged by the Armed Forces.
In a joint press briefing between the DHQ and the Nigerian Army, the military urged Nigerians not to nurse any fear or apprehension about soldiers’ incursion into politics and governance, that will result in a coup dè tàt.
Director of Defence Information, Major General John Enenche, accompanied by the Director of Army Public Relations, Brig. Gen. Sani Usman, told journalists in Abuja that the military would continually be loyal and subordinate to constituted authority and the Nigerian Constitution.
The move to allay public fear came amid several warnings and condemnation of any sinister plot by the military to take over the reins of power in Nigeria.
The United Kingdom (UK) government, pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, the pan-Igbo socio-cultural group, Ohaneze dì Igbo, civil societies and All Progressives Congress (APC) National Leader and former governor of Lagos State, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu have warned of the severe consequences of any military coup.
The Lagos State House of Assembly during the week also cautioned that the state will not accept or embrace any form of coup dè tàt.
But speaking to journalists, Enenche said: “What I have told you people on behalf of the Armed Forces of Nigeria is that nobody should be afraid of any coup.
“The Armed Forces is totally loyal to the commander in chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria and incomplete subordination to civil authorities and all levels of command were out there administering our troops to remain focus and be conscious of the oath of allegiance that we have taken guided by the constitution of this country.
“That’s my final remarks to you to build on that and then reassure the general public that there’s nothing like that and nothing like that will ever be supported and will never be encouraged.
“If there’s sign of anything like that there are extant and guiding rules and regulations procedures which we normally follow.
“Finally 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, democracy, democracy and we are for it.”
Enenche explained that “professionally, it is a command responsibility to caution officers and men on routine basis to conform to the ethics of the military in all ramifications, which includes; interactions and exchange of visits among others.
“This command 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 .
“Secondly, administratively, officers and men are regularly cautioned to exercise command and control by Appropriate Superior Authorities through commanders at various levels.
“This is to prevent members of the armed forces from derailing from their core focus of total dedication to their oath of allegiance. Thus, it is a usual practice in military administration.
“However, it is pertinent to state that, if there are signs of actions that point to likely breaches of military code of conduct as it were, cautions or warnings are issued with possible investigations following.
“Thus, in the present situation, the Armed Forces and the Army in particular has employed the due process to ensure that officers and men remain committed to performing their constitutional roles. As such, the mention of coup plots from some quarters are assertions which are not confirmed.
“At this juncture, let me assure all Nigerians and lovers of this country that the Armed Forces, is and will remain totally loyal to the Commanderln-Chief (C-in-C) of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and in complete subordination to civil rule.
“Furthermore, all fears about a coup should be allayed as the contemporary Nigerian Military is abreast with the best international practices in governance, which is democracy.
“In this regard, the military high and other levels of command will continue to ensure effective training and administration, to ensure that the Armed Forces of Nigeria, retain its place of pride amongst the military globally.”
Enenche though will not provide detailed account of the ongoing investigation, also informed informed journalists that “an administrative machinery has been set in” unravel the alleged coup plot and infiltration of the military by politicians.
The rumoured coup dè tàt as hinted by the Army Headquarters through the warning by the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai has raised concerns and anxiety in the polity of a possible military incursion into politics and the potential to derail the current fragile democracy.
President Muhammadu Buhari’s continuous ill-health has also precipitated the situation over the power struggle among key players in the administration.
Since the beginning of this year, Buhari has been juggling between London, UK and Abuja, the Nigerian capital. His health condition has raise tempers and fear around the country and beyond.