There are reports of rumors that the Nigerian Army hierarchy is disturbed by rumors of a coup d’état (junior officers’ coup talk) being planned by junior officers. In the aftermath of the rumors, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai has given a stern warning to army officials to stay off politics and politically related activities.
The army chief warned all officers and soldiers interested in politics to resign their commission or apply for voluntary discharge forthwith. Lt. Gen. Buratai gave the order on Tuesday via a statement issued by the Army spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Sani Usman.
“This is to inform the public that the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Nigerian Army, has received information that some individuals have been approaching some officers and soldiers for undisclosed political reasons. On the basis of that, he has warned such persons to desist from these acts.
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 . . .”
– Brig. Gen. Sani Usman, Nigerian Army Spokesman
Brig. Gen. Usman on Tuesday reiterated that the Nigerian Army will remain apolitical and respect the Nigerian constitution at all times.
The concern about a possibly ongoing but ‘unverifiable plan’ to overthrow the Nigerian government (and by implication, the Buhari administration) may have informed Gen. Buratai’s decision to reshuffle the postings of top military generals last week.
The rumors grew further following President Muhammadu Buhari’s recent sickness that saw him travelling to the United Kingdom for further treatment on May 7, weeks after he spent over 50 days in the same United Kingdom on medical vacation. Like in his previous trip, the president wrote the National Assembly transferring powers to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo according to constitutional provisions.
There are also unconfirmed reports that soon after President Muhammadu Buhari departed again on another medical vacation on May 7 to London for medical treatment, and just hours after he left Nigeria, Lt. Gen. Buratai, it was learnt, requested to see the Acting President Yemi Osinbajo urgently.
At the meeting in the presidential villa in Abuja, Buratai was said to have presented Osinbajo with intelligence that some prominent politicians were hobnobbing with Army officers and soldiers in a bid to compromise them.
Osinbajo, it was gathered, thanked Buratai and said he trusted the Army Chief to put his officers and soldiers in check.
Buratai responded by pledging his loyalty to the Buhari administration and hinted that he would carry out “immediate changes”, to counter any plan to topple the Nigerian government.
Meanwhile, there are also unconfirmed reports of concerns over the safety of Acting President Osinbajo and it is believed that he would have reached out to his Buhari in London over the alarming security reports – in line with transfer of power ‘reportage’.
As we published, the reports on the purported meeting between Buratai and Osinbajo in Aso Rock or the communication to Buhari by Osinbajo on the coup talk was not confirmed by the presidency or any official of the Buhari administration.