The Nigerian armed forces dismissed speculation that there’s a plot to topple the country’s elected government and reaffirmed its subordination to the civilian authorities.
The military has no intention of “truncating democracy” and “will continue to carry out its constitutional roles as directed by the Commander-in-Chief,” according to a statement published Friday on the Defence Headquarters website. A report by an online newspaper, Sahara Reporters, of a plot by some military officers “should be disregarded as unfounded and absolute disinformation,” the military said in the statement.
Army Chief of Staff Tukur Buratai said in May that some individuals were approaching soldiers to discuss a plot and warned that they should desist. Such rumors have surfaced with President Muhammadu Buhari’s illness this year and repeated trips to London for medial treatment.
Buratai’s statement in May “was a normal service administrative caution to officers and men, that was issued by the army on relationships between service personnel and civilians,” the Defence Headquarters said Friday.
Nigeria has had six successful coups and several failed putsches since gaining independence from the U.K. in 1960. Democracy returned in 1999, when former general Olusegun Obasanjo was elected president. Buhari’s victory in 2015 marked the first time that the opposition had ousted a ruling party by a vote in the oil-rich nation.