•Says no coup plot has been ascertained
•Asks Nigerians not to panic, pledges loyalty to Buhari, democracy
By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA-THE military has put machinery in motion to investigate the motive behind recent alleged romance between its personnel and some politicians in the country. This came as the military declared that contrary to rumours in some quarters that some of its officers were planning a coup against the federal administration, there was nothing of such.
The military said it was loyal and committed to President Muhammadu Buhari, declaring that any coup attempt from any quarter would not have the backing of the Nigerian Armed Forces, insisting that it was committed to working for the sustenance of democracy in the country.
To this end, it enjoined Nigerians not to be afraid of any coup, saying all levels of its commands were out there administering troops to remain focussed and be conscious of the oath of allegiance they took to guard the constitution of the country.
Director of Defence Information, Major General John Enenche, who briefed the media in company of Directors of Information units of the Nigerian Army, Air Force and Navy in Abuja, yesterday, reassured the general public that there was nothing like coup being contemplated in any area in the country.
Although Enenche was evasive in confirming that a panel had been set up to that effect, his statement gave room for belief to that effect.
Answering a question in this regard, he said: “It was reported that some of our personnel have been exchanging visits for undisclosed political reasons. What I will tell you here is that, like I said earlier on, we have set in motion as it were, for that particular case, an administrative machinery.
“It will not be good for us at this point to tell you something that may not be true and to retract it. It will not be healthy for the general public.
“Let us allow time and administrative procedures, particularly, when you talk about possible investigation. It takes some little time and I believe we are still within that little time. So, be patient.”
Vanguard gathered that a panel secretly constituted, last week by the military authorities, was given the mandate to interrogate suspected officers, with a view to ascertaining their levels of culpability or otherwise in the alleged action.
Enenche, who insisted that there was nothing like coup in the country, said coup would never be supported and encouraged any more by the military.
“In summary, 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 in complete subordination to civil authorities.
“All levels of command are out there administering our troops to remain focused and be conscious of the oath of allegiance that we have taken and guided by the Constitution of this country.
“The Nigerian military reassures the general public that there is nothing like that and nothing like that will ever be supported and will never be encouraged, “he declared.
He, however, said: “If there is any sign of anything like that, there are extant and guiding rules and regulations as well as procedures which we normally follow.
“We are not a different world from what is happening all over the world, (after which) 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, “he added.
Enenche had earlier told newsmen that the briefing was aimed at clarifying the statement credited to the Nigerian Army about relationship between some civilians and army personnel.
In a prepared text he read out, at the briefing, he noted that “professionally, it is a command’s responsibility to caution officers and men on routine basis to conform to the ethics of the military in all ramifications, including interactions and exchange of visits, among others.
“This command’s 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,’’ he said.
He said the alarm over romance of some Army officers and subsequent warning to officers penultimate week by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt General Tukur Buratai, was not out of place.
“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.
“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 have 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 in quarters are assertions which are not confirmed.
“Let me assure all Nigerians and lovers of this country that the Armed Forces, is and will remain totally loyal to the Commander-in-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 pride of place amongst the military, globally.”