Hours after the Nigerian Army denied teaming up with any group to topple the democratically-elected government of President Muhammadu Buhari, the Defence Headquarters has distanced itself from such plans, stressing that the online report which alleged so is not only diversionary but a complete propaganda.
“The attention of the Nigerian Army has been drawn to another campaign of calumny and distraction by faceless criminal gang of economic saboteurs that hide under the aegis of Joint Niger Delta Liberation Force (JNDLF) alleging that some officers of the Nigerian Army approached them for support to overthrow our duly elected present democratic government,” Army spokesman, Col. Sani Usman said, adding that the allegation is baseless since the Army is the “is the greatest beneficiary of democracy”.
Reacting also, the Nigerian Armed Forces in a statement issued on Thursday by the Acting Director, Defence Information, Brigadier General Rabe Abubakar, maintained that the story was concocted to achieve cheap publicity and also meant to heat up the polity and cause public apprehension.
It reads in part, “The attention of the Defence Headquarters has been drawn to an online publication by Sahara Reporters that the military intends to overthrow the civilian administration of President Mohammed Buhari.
“The Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin wishes to assure our highly respected political leaders and the entire Nigerians that the military will continue to be apolitical and will do everything possible to defend and deepen our democratic governance which is the best, acceptable and legitimate form of government the world over.
“The Defence Headquarters restates its total subordination to civil authority and upholding the supremacy of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and will continue to defend all democratic structures and will never yield to blackmail and distractions from fifth columnist. Therefore this unfounded story should be discountenance in its entirety.
“In dealing with the myriad of security challenges across the country, the military will continue to remain focus and deploy every available resources to reposition our forces to carry out their constitutional roles.”
Abubakar, however, announced that Rear Admiral Joseph Osa Okojie has been appointed as the new commander for Operation Delta Safe in the Niger Delta, stressing that the appointment takes immediate effect.
Until his present appointment, Okojie was the Flag Officer Commanding Naval Training Command, Lagos.
It would be recalled that Operation Pulo Shield in the Niger Delta was recently scrapped and replaced with Operation Delta Safe.