12 March 2018

Nigerian Military Dismisses Talk of Staging a Coup

Photo: Premium Times
Nigerian army.

Abuja — THE Nigerian Defence Forces has reacted angrily to suggestions it would stage a coup against the under-pressure government of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Contributing to a debate on a motion in the legislative house, Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, recently claimed the military could take over, arguing that democracy under Buhari was receding.

Brigadier General, John Agim, Acting Director Defence Information, denounced the sentiments as having the capacity to denigrate the military and loyalty to the president, who is the Commander in Chief.

Agim said the statements, coming after pressure on the government in the wake of the Boko Haram terror, were likely to erode confidence on the armed forces to defend Nigeria's democracy.

"In light of this, the Defence Headquarters wishes to state clearly that the Nigerian military has come of age and is in tune with best international military practices of complete and total subordination to democratic governance."

The advent of democracy in 1999 brought to an end decades of military dictators in Africa's most populous country of over 190 million people.

Between 1966 and 1999 the army held power uninterrupted apart from a brief return to democracy between 1979 and 1983. Buhari led a coup that deposed Shehu Shagari. General Ibrahim Babangida overthrew Buhari in 1985.

Buhari bounced back after democratic polls in 2015.

Agim said after the transition in 1999, partisan officers were eased out of service.

He thus assured the international community of loyalty to government.

"Therefore, the apprehension by the Deputy President of the Senate should be totally disregarded."

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