The Defence Headquarters on Wednesday dismissed rumours of coup plot and urged Nigerians not to panic, as there was no such attempt.
The director of Defence Information, John Enenche, a Maj.-Gen., allayed the fear at a news conference attended by the spokesman of the army, Sani Usman, a Brig.-Gen., and a representative of the Navy spokesman.
The Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, a Lt.-Gen., recently warned officers and soldiers of the army not fraternise with politicians.
Mr. Enenche said “in summary, I want to tell you, on behalf of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, that nobody should be afraid of any coup.
“The armed forces are totally loyal to the Commander-In-Chief, and are in complete subordination to civil authorities.
“We are out there administering our troops to remain focused and be conscious of oath of allegiance that we have taken and are guided by the constitution of this country at all levels of command.
“I want to reassure the general public that there is nothing like that (coup) and nothing like that will ever be supported, will ever be encouraged.
“And should there be a sign of anything like that, there are extant and guiding rules and regulations which we normally follow.
“We (military) are not different from what is happening all over the world, our armed forces, the present crop of officers and soldiers are in tune with the best international practices of governance and that is democracy.’’
On the warning earlier issued by the army chief to officers and soldiers to steer clear of politics, Mr. Enenche described that as “professionally a command responsibility.”
He said it was a required routine to personnel to conform to military ethics in all ramifications.
According to him, that includes interaction 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 to the lowest levels of command, hence the caution from the army in this case.
“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.
“However, 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 investigation following it,” he said.
According to him, the mere mention of coup plot from some quarters are assertions which are not confirmed.
On May 6, Mr. Buratai warned officers and soldiers of the army to steer clear of politics or have themselves to blame.
He also advised personnel who were interested in politics to “resign their commission or apply for voluntary discharge forthwith.”
The warning, he said, followed information received that “some individuals have been approaching some officers and soldiers for undisclosed political reasons.”
On that basis, he advised such persons to desist from the acts.
Mr. Buratai said the “Nigerian Army is a thorough professional, disciplined, loyal and apolitical institution that has clear constitutional roles and responsibilities.
“Any officer or soldier of Nigerian Army found to be hobnobbing with such elements or engaged in unprofessional conducts such as politicking would have himself or herself to blame.”
BELOW IS THE FULL STATEMENT BY THE DEFENCE HEADQUARTERS.
PRESS BRIEFING ON CAUTION ON RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CIVILIANS AND MILITARY PERSONNEL
This briefing is to clarify on the statement credited to Army about relationship between some civilians and army personnel.
Professionally, it is a command responsibility to caution officers and men on routine basis to conform to the ethics of the military in all ramifications, which includes; interactions and exchange of visits among others. This command 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 .
Secondly, 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.
However, 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 has 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 some quarters are assertions which are not confirmed.
At this juncture, 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 place of pride amongst the military globally.
Major General John Enenche
Director Defence Information