Army warns coup plot speculators
The Nigerian Army yesterday denied rumours of an alleged involvement of its personnel in a plot to overthrow the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.The Army authorities described as baseless, allegations that some of their officers had approached the militant group, Joint Niger Delta Liberation Force (JNDLF), to support their bid to overthrow the Federal Government.
A statement denying the alleged coup plot issued to newsmen yesterday in Abuja by the Acting Director of Army Public Relations, Col. Sani Usman, reads : “The attention of the Nigerian Army has been drawn to another campaign of calumny and distraction by 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.
“This is baseless and most unfortunate and exists only in the warped minds of the originators of such weighty allegation. The Nigerian Army wishes to state that this is not true and hereby distance itself from this weighty allegation.
“We also see this speculation as a dangerous distraction to our effort in fighting insurgency and other criminal elements in the country.“The Nigerian Army (NA) would like to send a strong and an unequivocal warning to those speculating a coup by the Nigerian Army (NA) against the government to desist forthwith. We would like to state in clear terms that we are a product of democracy and a focused professional institution and would have nothing to do with such abomination and heinous crime.
“We wish to state further that the NA 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.”
The statement added: “The Nigerian Army is investigating those behind the dangerous insinuation in order to unravel the real motives behind it. We would like to reiterate our unalloyed loyalty to the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the defense of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. We would also like to reaffirm our unconditional support and obedience to civil authority. We wish to further assure Nigerians and indeed all peace loving people that the Nigerian Army and its personnel will never be involved in such 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 denial is coming on the heels of claims by the JNDLF that some top army officers planning to overthrow Buhari’s government had approached the group to continue bombing oil installations to give pretext and justification for a coup against him.
JNDLF, in a statement by its Commander, General Duties, Joint Revolutionary Council, JRC, General Akotebe Darikoro and others, said: “We are constrained to let the cat out of the bag today that President Buhari should be wary about the security of this country as some military men are making moves to remove him from power by instigating civil unrest in the country.
“Some top military men through their civil agents approached us to cause and continue the vandalisation of oil and gas pipelines in the Niger Delta region to serve as an excuse to take over the government from democracy to military rule in the country.
“We said no, as such plan is not in conformity with our reason for agitation. The military wants to disgrace him now and let him quickly look into the issues and make pronouncement for his administration to be in peace.
“Let the President analyze certain memo from the military concerning Niger Delta region before taking actions, otherwise the military will use that as a platform to remove him.
“We know that the issue of Niger Delta is political and we prefer political solution to resolve it, but if the President refuses, that is not our problem.
“Some military men want to use various agitations in the country and the President’s probing of the military, which they said exposes the respected uniformed personnel to disrepute and ridicule before the civilian populace as an excuse to strike.
“We received several calls from unknown persons to persuade us to continue the bombing and that when they succeed in overthrowing the government, our situation will be better.
“We said capital no. When asked of their names, they said they were above Major-General level. They refused to disclose their names but their intonation seemed like Yoruba and Hausa.
“Our agitation is not for selfish interests but for the overall benefit of the Niger Delta region. We will not kidnap any person or kill expatriates but will continue our agitation with clear determination to actualise our cause in Nigeria.”