The Nigerian Army has denied any knowledge of plans by the Chief of Army Staff and serving senior officers to establish an interim government in the event that the opposition party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), wins the February 14 presidential contest.
The denial, in a press statement on Tuesday, related directly to reports by SaharaReporters on Monday that some top army officers were privy to the plans.
Sources had disclosed that a multi-pronged approach has been put in place to frustrate the successful hosting of the presidential election, scheduled to hold in less than two weeks, including using elements within the force.
The Army bristled at the report.
"Any discerning mind would notice that these false and baseless allegations are calculated attempts by unpatriotic elements to divide the Nigerian Army, create disaffection among its ranks and distract the service from its avowed constitutional duty of defending the territorial integrity of our great nation," it said in the statement, which was signed by Colonel Sani Kukasheka Usman, the Acting Director of Army Public Relations.
"These efforts are renewed attempts by the same faceless groups who since last year have made futile efforts to politicize ongoing Counter-Terrorism and Counter-Insurgency operations of the Nigerian Army and other security agencies,” it said.
The Army further went on to disparage and question the credibility of some letters addressed to President Goodluck Jonathan by concerned members of the Nigerian Army and copied to SaharaReporters. They attributed the failure of Operation Zaman Lafiya, the counter-insurgency operation in the Northeast, to corruption within the upper echelons of the military.
The army maintained that the most recent of these letters, published on January 31, was fraudulent. The letter, which was received by SaharaReporters editorial staff, made the case that Nigeria's army could not manage the insurgency crisis because of internal issues. It went further to encourage the United States and the United Nations to intervene.
"It will be recalled that late last year, the same group using the stolen identity of a serving Lieutenant Colonel, wrote a petition to the President making all sorts of unfounded allegations,” the press statement said, adding that the letter was “thoroughly investigated” by relevant security agencies.
"The findings indicated that the petition was indeed the handiwork of faceless and unpatriotic individuals who seek to distract the Nigerian Army," the statement said.
SaharaReporters rejects the imputations contained in the press statement. Reporting what we know and being disloyal are two different things. We are not disloyal to Nigeria, and we are passionate about the success of the Nigerian Army in its counter-terrorism efforts.
We will continue to work with the Army to enlighten the public about its difficult counter-terrorism operation. On January 29, for instance—two days before the latest letter in reference came to light—SaharaReporters invited General Olukolade to appear on SaharaTV as part of its election election coverage, an offer he accepted.
Text of the statement:
Directorate of Army Public Relations
Area 7 Garki,
Tel: 09-2340528, ext 1928
E-mail: [email protected]
3 February 2015
NIGERIAN ARMY NOT AWARE OF PLAN FOR INTERIM GOVERNMENT
The attention of the Nigerian Army has been drawn to spurious and unsubstantiated allegations begin circulated particularly, in the social media about the Nigerian Army, the Chief of Army Staff and some serving senior officers. Any discerning mind would notice that these false and baseless allegations are calculated attempts by unpatriotic elements to divide the Nigerian Army, create disaffection among its ranks and distract the service from its avowed constitutional duty of defending the territorial integrity of our great nation. Unfortunately for these individuals, their effort which are reminiscent of the NADECO days are obviously aimed at reversing the gains made and the renewed efforts in fighting terrorism and insurgency in the country is failing woefully.
Before dealing with these allegations, it is important to note that these efforts are renewed attempts by the same faceless groups who since last year have made futile efforts to politicize ongoing Counter-Terrorism and Counter-Insurgency operations of the Nigerian Army and other security agencies. It will be recalled that late last year, the same group using the stolen identity of a serving Lieutenant Colonel, wrote a petition to the President making all sorts of unfounded allegations. The petition was thoroughly investigated by relevant security agencies. The findings indicated that the petition was indeed the handiwork of faceless and unpatriotic individuals who seek to distract the Nigerian Army.
The latest effort by these same group and their collaborators is the sensational and outrageous claim that the Chief of Army Staff is preparing to assume the leadership of this country through an interim government, in the event that the opposition party wins the 2015 general elections at the federal level. This is dangerous, condemnable ad a great disservice, given the tremendous sacrifices of the Nigerian Army in support of democracy in our nation. This deliberate attempt to erode public confidence and trust in the Nigerian Army will not be tolerated and the masterminds of these campaigns of calumny are advised to desist from their nefarious activities forthwith.
Similarly, a letter has also surfaced in the social media purportedly written by “Concerned Officers and Soldiers of Operation Zaman Lafiya”. This is a rehash of the same issues peddled by the writers of a similar petition written last year using the stolen identity of a serving military officer.
Also, another online medium has claimed that two serving Major Generals of the Nigeria Army have tendered “a letter of resignation” over an alleged disagreement with the Chief of Army Staff during a meeting. The medium neither mentioned the names of the senior officers concerned, nor the time and place of the alleged meeting with the Chief of Army Staff. For the avoidance of doubt, there has been no resignation whatsoever in the Nigerian Army on account of the disagreement with the Chief of Army Staff.
It must be stated categorically that the Nigerian Army is apolitical. In the same vein, it does not tolerate any of its officers or soldiers being involved in political matters. In this regard, it is recalled that the Chief of Army Staff while addressing the Passing Out Parade of 71 Regular Recruits Intake at Depot Nigerian Army Zaria, recently, reiterated this thus, “As you all aware, this is an election year. I therefore urge you to read and understand the code of conduct for military personnel during elections. You must remain apolitical at all times and in all situations. You must also see yourselves as ambassadors of the Nigerian Army and project the image of the Service positively at all times. To achieve this, you are expected to discharge your duties diligently, professionally and patriotically”.
It is pertinent to restate the fact that the Nigerian Army remains committed and loyal to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the President, Commander –in-Chief. The Army is conscious and committed to its subordination to constituted civil authorities. Politicians and their agents and agencies should please desist from attempts to drag the Nigerian Army into their political issues.
Nigerian Army welcomes genuine complaints against individual officers and soldiers. Cases of alleged corruption or misconduct should therefore be directed to the appropriate civilian or military authority, instead of embarking on unfounded smear campaigns that will achieve no result.
You are please requested to disseminate this information to the public through your medium.
Thank you for your kind cooperation.
Sani Kukasheka Usman
Acting Director Army Public Relations