The Nigerian Army has dismissed as false, claims by the Joint Niger Delta Liberation Force (JNDLF) that some senior officers were plotting to overthrow the government of the day.
The JNDLF, a consolidated group of militants, had in a statement yesterday alerted President Muhammadu Buhari to an alleged coup plot by top military officers using civil unrest in the oil-rich Niger Delta as cover.
“Some top military men through their civil agents approached us to cause and continue the vandalization of the oil and gas pipelines in the Niger delta region so as to use as an excuse to take over the government from democracy to military rule in the country”, the militants claimed.
But the Army, in a statement on Thursday by its spokesman, Colonel Sani Usman, described the alleged coup plot as another campaign of calumny and distraction by a faceless criminal gang of economic saboteurs.
Usman said: “This is baseless and most unfortunate allegation that exists in the warped minds of the originators of such weighty allegation.
“The Nigerian Army wish to state that this is not true and hereby distanced itself from this weighty allegation”.
He said “We also see this speculation as a dangerous distraction to our effort in fighting insurgency and other criminal elements in the country”.
The statement further said: “The Nigerian Army would like to send a strong and an unequivocal warning to those speculating a coup by the Nigerian Army (NA) against the Government to desist forthwith”.
According to Usman, the army is a product of democracy and a focused professional institution and would have nothing to do with such abomination and heinous crime.
He also said the army is the greatest beneficiary of democracy and cannot contemplate any anti-democratic misadventure, especially not under the command of the present Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Buratai.
He noted that the army sees this type of dangerous speculation as declaration of war to destabilise the present government by these unscrupulous elements.
Usman further said the Army is investigating those behind the dangerous insinuation in order to unravel the real motive behind it.
While reiterating the army’s unalloyed loyalty to the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and defence of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Army also reaffirmed its unconditional support and obedience to civil authority.
Col. Usman assured Nigerians and all peace loving people that the Nigerian Army and its personnel will never be involved in such terrible misadventure.
“We wish to further add that no matter how long it takes, we would track and find out those behind these insinuations and bring them to justice”, he said.