From Molly Kilete, Abuja and Sola Ojo, Kaduna
The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has said Nigerians should not be alarmed over rumours that some military personnel were planning to truncate the nation’s democracy.
Director, Defence Information, Major-General John Enenche, who made this known at a briefing said it was necessary to disabuse the minds of some Nigerians who were misinterpreting the warning by the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Tukur Buratai, to soldiers to stop fraternising with politicians.
Gen. Buratai, had on May 16, raised the alarm that some politicians have been approaching some officers and soldiers for “undisclosed political reasons.”
The revelation drew criticisms from within and outside Nigeria, even as many vowed to resist any military intervention.
But the DHQ said, the mention of coup plots from some quarters are assertions which are not confirmed.
“We reassure the general public that there is nothing like that, and nothing like that will ever be supported and never be encouraged. And if there is sign of anything like that, there are extant and guarding rules and regulations, procedures which we normally follow.”
The Defence spokesman added: “Nobody should be afraid of any coup, the armed forces is totally loyal to the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria and ready and in complete subordination to civil authorities.
“At all level of our command, we are out there administering our troops to remain focused and be conscious of the oath of allegiance that we have taken and guarded by the constitution of this country.
“And finally, we are not a different world from what is happening all over the world.
“Our armed forces, the present crop of officers and soldiers, we are modern and in tune with international best practices of governance and that is democracy and we are for it.”
He said the armed forces would do everything in its powers to defend the nation’s democracy.
“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.”
He said the military high and other levels of command would continue to ensure effective training and administration, to ensure that the Armed Forces retain its place of pride amongst the military globally.
Meanwhile, Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Baba Abubakar said Nigerian Air Force was ready to defend the territorial integrity of the country against all olds.
Abubakar spoke while addressing the rank and file of the force in Kaduna during the second quarter meeting with branch chiefs, AOCs, Commanders and Commandants of NAF.
He told the senior officers that the Airforce must continue to carry out its constitutional duties professionally and ensure that territorial integrity of Nigeria was not undermined by any group or groups.
“We are more than ever committed to defend the territorial integrity of this country. We are also more than ever committed to monitor oil criminals and other activities challenging smooth running of the country.