Niger coup reverberates in Nigeria


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from EMEKA OKONKWO in Abuja, Nigeria
Nigeria Bureau
ABUJA, (CAJ News) – CALLS for the military to stage a coup in Nigeria have created apprehension in the country, at a time neighbouring Niger is in the throes of a military takeover.

The calls have spread like veld fire online and the fact that the military has responded highlights the severity of the issue.

The tension stems from reports of some soldiers being unsettled. There has been a string of resignations amid reports of disgruntlement with the military leadership.

Late on Sunday, said it was concerned at “false and disturbing” social media reports “twisted” to state that the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) received a request to effect a change of leadership in the country.

“We want to use this opportunity to reiterate that the AFN never received nor made such a declaration at any time to anyone or any group,” said Brigadier General Tukur Gusau, Director: Defence Information.

“We believe this statement came from those who do not wish the nation well. It is surely the wicked imagination of a few who are not happy with the progress and well-being of our dear country,” he added.

“The AFN is very comfortable with democracy and remains loyal to the President, Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria His Excellency President Bola Ahmed Tinubu. The military is always willing and ready to defend the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

Gusau warned those he said were peddling such falsehood to desist from such or face the law.

“The military and indeed other security agencies are on the lookout for these agents of doom. We must all join hands to strengthen our democracy,” Gusau said.

It is not the first time the armed forces have reacted.

“The Defence Headquarters frown at a report being circulated online about welfare issues in the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN),” Gusau said this past weekend.

“The report’s call on the military to interfere in our democracy is highly unpatriotic, wicked, and an attempt to distract the Armed Forces of Nigeria from performing its constitutional responsibilities.”

Gusau added, “While the leadership of the AFN gives priority to the welfare of its personnel, however, we detest any attempt by any individual or group to instigate the law-abiding AFN to embark on any unconstitutional change of government in our country.”

He assured that the military is “happy” and “better” under democracy and would not get involved in any act to sabotage the “hard-earned” democracy in Nigeria.

“The AFN under the leadership of the Chief of Defence Staff, General CG Musa is determined to ensure complete subordination of the Armed Forces to constitutional authority under his Excellency, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and will not be distracted from its roles that are well defined in the 1999 constitution (as amended).”

Last week, the Nigerian Army (NA) confirmed the resignation of 25 soldiers but dismissed media reports they had resigned because of corruption in the leadership.

“The insinuation that the soldiers are proceeding on voluntary discharge due to alleged corruption is an implausible effort to frantically dampen the morale and fighting will of the loyal, dedicated and patriotic troops of the NA, engender disaffection in the ranks and ultimately put the nascent Nigerian Government and nation in a panic mode,” said Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu.

He assured that the army, under the leadership of Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja, remained committed to “upholding the highest standards of integrity, probity and professionalism by providing exemplary and pragmatic leadership, sound administration, that will continue to boldly guarantee the welfare and motivation of NA personnel, as well as provide requisite enablers for operational effectiveness, while maintaining public trust.”

“The general public is therefore enjoined to discountenance the manipulative insinuations peddled in the said publication as it is glaringly unsubstantiated,” Nwachukwu said.

The escalating situation in Niger is perceptibly behind the coup rumours in Nigeria but the West African country’s history is synonymous with military coups.

Democracy was restored in 1999 after decades of military rule.

Nigeria chairs the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which has hinted at military intervention in northern neighbor, Niger, following the July 26 coup that deposed President Mohamed Bazoum.

Nigeria has its own unresolved political issues, with Tinubu’s election in February subject to a court challenge by his rivals that allege the poll was rigged.

At that moment, it seemed the disputed poll would be ECOWAS’ main concern.

The crisis in Niger has proved otherwise.

– CAJ News








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