Nigeria's presidency says it has discovered plans by some opposition, religious and political leaders to sponsor a vote of no confidence in order to overthrow President Muhammadu Buhari.
The government raised the alarm on Tuesday as the country moved to arraign some 400 high profile persons for allegedly funding insurgency, banditry and uprisings.
The State has warned that it will decisively deal with any group that does anything to undermine the democratically elected government of Nigeria, even if some feathers would be ruffled in the process.
The Special Advisor to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, said in Abuja that some persons planned to hold an illegal conference where a vote of no confidence was plotted against President Buhari.
He claimed that some highly placed individuals, in collaboration with some religious leaders and their foreign elements, were working hard to undermine the sovereignty of the country.
The presidency is reacting to an alert earlier raised by the Department of State Services, and explained that Nigerians opted for democratic rule, adding that the only acceptable way to change a democratically elected government is an election.
"The Department of State Services (DSS) on Sunday alerted on sinister moves by misguided elements to wreak havoc on the government, sovereignty and corporate existence of the country. Championed by some disgruntled religious and past political leaders, the intention is to eventually throw the country into a tailspin, which would compel a forceful and undemocratic change of leadership," he said.
Mr Adesina explained that "unimpeachable evidence" indicated that the disruptive elements were recruiting leaders of some ethnic groups and politicians around the country, with the intention of convening some sort of conference where a vote of no confidence would be passed on the President Buhari.
"The caterwauling in recent times, by these elements, is to prepare the grounds adequately for their ignoble intentions, which are designed to cause further grief for the country...The agent provocateurs hope to achieve through artifice and sleight of hands, what they failed to do through the ballot box in the 2019 elections."
The Buhari aide warned that any regime change outside the ballot is illegal and treasonable.
"These discredited individuals and groups are also in cahoots with external forces to cause maximum damage in their own country," he claimed.
The remarks from the Presidency come just a day after Nigeria's military vowed that it would not overthrow Buhari, whose government has come under criticism over growing insecurity, while warning local politicians to desist from incitement.
In a statement issued by Acting Director Defence Information, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu, the military said it had no intention of taking over power again in Nigeria. This, it says, is because it believed that despite tough times, democracy is the way to go and militarism is no longer fashionable.
The army also warned politicians nursing ambitions of ruling Nigeria outside the ballot box, saying it would continue to defend the country's democracy.
Nigeria is currently going through major insecurity across the six geo-political regions.
Aside from activities by Boko Haram and ISWAP in the north that has claimed more than 38,000 lives, bandits across the 19 northern states have become increasing fearsome, claiming more than 4,800 lives since September 2020.
Activities of secessionists in the South East and South West have also posed a danger to peace and compounded poor security across the country.
Many high profile Nigerians suspected to be bankrolling disaffection, banditry, kidnapping and insurgency have been arrested. The arrests were made in Kano, Borno, Lagos, Sokoto, Adamawa, Kaduna, Zamfara states and in the Federal Capital Territory in operations jointly carried out by Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA), Department of State Services (DSS), Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Some operators of bureau de change (BDC) were also arrested while a fresh list of 957 suspects comprising business persons are being investigated.
Mr Umar Gwandu, the Spokesperson of the Minister of Justice, said criminal charges bordering on terrorism were already being prepared against the suspects.