COAS meets principal officers over coup threat
• Pledges to end counter-insurgency operation in North-East soon
In an obvious step to put to check the rumoured coup threat, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai yesterday summoned all Principal Staff Officers (PSOs) and General Officers Commanding (GOCs) of the Nigerian Army to an emergency meeting.
The meeting was called to strategise towards preventing any such incidence and other security challenges in the country.
Buratai briefed his officers in a close door session at the Army Headquarters in Abuja after informing the press of the importance of the emergency meeting, saying, “this is an impromptu meeting in view of the security challenges and we have to come together to rub minds on how we can handle the situation.”
At the close of the in-house meeting, the GOC 1 Division, Nigerian Army Kaduna, Major General Adeniyi Oyebade, in company of the GOC 82 Division Enugu, Major-General, Ibrahim Attahiru, and GOC 7 Division, Maiduguri, Brigadier General Victor Ezugwu, confirmed that they discussed the rumoured plot to overthrow the democratic government in Nigeria and the strategies put in place to re-organise the Army, but reiterated that the Army is completely loyal to the government and respect for the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The Chief of Army Staff summoned his top commanders across the Army for a quick meeting this morning. Essentially, the meeting was to review the security situation in the country and to also let us know some of the re-organisation that has taken place over the last few days.
“As you must have also heard in the last few days the rumours of coup or no coup, we want to assure all our citizens that the Army remains apolitical, our loyalty, allegiance to the constitutional authority of this land, the three branches of government, Mr President and Commander-in-Chief, our loyalty is unquestionable.
“We have decided long before now, since the beginning of the fourth Republic, to abide by our code of conduct and to remain subordinate to the civil authority, that has not changed and it will not change.” Oyebade said.
He explained that the Army cannot take such rumoured threats with a pinch of salt, therefore, those behind the plot must be fished to unstitch the true situation. He said nothing of such would happen as the Armed Forces as a whole is loyal to the government and constitution.
“But of course it is not something that we will just take lightly, we are putting all resources, assets, efforts to find out where this very dastardly speculation emanated from but most importantly we want to assure our people that the Nigerian Army remains steadfast and our loyalty is unquestionable to Mr President and Commander-in-Chief and the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” he stated.
He also said they discussed the situation in the Niger Delta and explained that the change in the Operational nomenclature structure is to ensure effective and more decisive response to the challenge posed by the resurgence of militancy in the area.
“You are aware that there was re-organisation of the Niger Delta operations, it has changed from the erstwhile Operation Pulo Shield to Operation Delta Safe and the Army is still very strong and we will continue to do everything to ensure that issues of oil theft and Pipeline vandalism will be severely curtailed in conjunction with our sister services, the Nigerian Navy and the Air Force and other security agencies,” he stated.
On the counter-insurgency Operation in the Northeast, he said it is currently been reviewed, despite the challenges “here and there but we want to assure the nation that in no distant future we will bring the operation to a close, we are working very hard on that.”
On the application of the rules of engagement in their operation, Oyebade said, “we have heard quite a number of talks here and there but we want to assure the public and the generality of our citizens that the Army will abide by the rules of engagement.”
While soliciting public support and cooperation in the fight against all forms of criminalities in the country, Oyebade commended the efforts and contributions of the Civilian JTF, saying they “have been helpful in identifying and arrest of Boko Haram suspects across the country.”