The Defence Headquarters, Abuja, on Wednesday, finally opened up on the rumours of a coup plot in the country, saying the military was committed to democracy according to international best practices.
The Director, Defence Information, Maj. Gen. John Enenche, stated this during a briefing attended by the Directors of Information of the Nigerian Army, the Nigerian Air Force and the Nigerian Navy.
This briefing came a week after the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, alleged that some Nigerians were approaching soldiers for some “undisclosed political reasons.”
He warned that any officer or soldier caught hobnobbing with politicians would be dealt with.
Buratai had advised officers and soldiers interested in politics to resign from the army.
The statement by the army chief had, in the last one week, created apprehension in the country with several civil society ogranisations, groups and notable Nigerians warning the military against truncating democracy.
A military source told our correspondent on Wednesday that the Army had constituted a panel since last week to quizz officers and soldiers, suspected to be involved in the unholy alliance.
When asked to confirm if a panel was quizzing suspected officers, Enenche said, “We have set up an administrative machinery, as it were for this matter. It is not good for us at this stage to tell you something that may not be true. Let us allow time for the administrative procedures. Be patient.”
The DHQ spokesman, however, said the armed forces were loyal to President Muhammadu Buhari as the Commander-in-Chief, adding that it was committed to working for the sustenance of democracy.
Enenche explained that the instruction given by the army chief was a “routine instruction” to guard against misconduct.
He said, “It is a command responsibility to caution officers and men on routine basis to conform with the ethics of the military. Hence, this was the caution given by the Army in this case.
“It is pertinent to state that if there are signs of actions likely to breach military code of conduct, warnings are issued with possible investigations following. As such, the mention of coup plots in some quarters is an assertion which is not confirmed.
“I want to assure all Nigerians that the armed forces remain totally loyal to the Commander-in-Chief 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 retain its pride of place amongst the military globally.”