NIGERIAN military authorities are taking very tough decisions on the recent rumour that a coup was being planned against the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.
On Friday, the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Yusuf Buratai, summoned all his top commanders to Abuja for an emergency meeting, where the issue was extensively discussed. All General Officers Commanding (GOCs) attended the meeting.
The Nigerian Army also vowed to put all resources, assets and efforts into tracing the source of the rumour which has heightened tension in the military in the last four days.
Speaking on behalf of the Chief of Army Staff, the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 1 Mechanised Division of the Nigerian Army, Kaduna, Major General Adeniyi Oyebade, told newsmen after the two-hour closed door meeting that the Chief of Army Staff summoned his top commanders across the Army “for a quick meeting, this morning.”
He said that most importantly, they wanted to assure the people that the Nigerian Army remained steadfast and that their “loyalty is unquestionable to the president and commander-in-chief and the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
The GOC said Nigerians should rest assured that coup would not happen within the ranks of the Nigerian Armed Forces.
According to him, “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 civil authority. That has not changed and it will not change.
“As you must have heard in the last few days, the rumour of coup or no coup, we want to assure all our fellow 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.”
General Oyebade said that the rules of engagement are like the army’s Bible, adding that “we want to assure the public and the generality of the citizens that the Army will abide by the rules of engagement.”
He commended the civilian JTF who, he said, had also done a tremendous job in the North East, saying the army would continue to solicit their support to finally rid the country of terrorism.
The GOC disclosed that the closed door meeting was essentially to review the security situation in the country and to also let the commanders know some of the reorganisation that had taken place over the last few days.
“We also did a review of the operation in the North East. It is going reasonably well. There are 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,” he said.
General Oyebade added that Nigerians were already aware that there was “a reorganisation of the Niger Delta operations, which 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 are severely curtailed in conjunction with our sister services, the Nigerian Navy and the Air Force and other security agencies.”