There have been major reactions from different quarters following allegations of a military coup insinuated by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai.
Just recently, Buratai raised an alarm alleging that some individuals and politicians had been approaching some officers for undisclosed reasons.
Consequently, regional bodies, civil rights groups and the Peoples Democratic Party, among others, joined voices with Buratai in warning military officers and other individuals contemplating the idea of a military coup in Nigeria to perish the thought.
The United Kingdom Government, the Arewa Consultative Forum (the umbrella body for the North), and the Ohanaeze Ndigbo (the Igbo socio-political organisation) have condemned reports of the alleged romance between some civilians and soldiers for political reasons.
In its reaction to Buratai’s warning, the PUNCH reports that the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Paul Arkwright, said the United Kingdom would continue to support democracy as the only system of government in Nigeria.
While speaking in Abuja on Wednesday, Arkwright said anyone seeking for change, must follow the democratic process which is an election.
“The British Government believes that democracy is absolutely critical in Nigeria. There is a democratic process here; there are elections. If you are not happy with your leaders, then you should change your leadership process through your leaders and through elections.
“That is exactly what happened in 2015 and it is what the British Government will expect to happen in Nigeria. So, our position is very clear; we stand for democracy, we stand for the democratic process and we stand for change if that is what the people of Nigeria want.
“It has to be a choice that the people make and not a choice that is imposed upon them,” the British High Commissioner said.
In the same vein, the ACF applauded the Chief of Army Staff for warning officers and men of the Nigerian Army to steer clear of politics.
ACF’s National Publicity Secretary Muhammad Ibrahim while speaking in Kaduna said the warming was timely, urging Nigerians to expose those who wanted to turn the clock back.
“Nigeria, at this time of our democratic experience, cannot afford any distractions by some unpatriotic individuals who want to use the military or other security agencies to disrupt our hard-earned democracy.
“The ACF, therefore, commends the Chief of Army Staff for his proactive action and appeals to Nigerians to expose those who wish to turn the hand of the clock backwards,” Ibrahim said.
More so, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo has asked Buratai to expose those that who had approached soldiers for political reasons.
Warning against an attempt, by anybody or group, to take advantage of President Muhammadu Buhari’s sickness and “take over power through the back door” the group’s Deputy Publicity Secretary, Mr. Chuks Ibegbu said the nation deserved to know the individuals concerned.
“He (Buratai) should name those people so that Nigerians will know who they are, and their motives.
“People should not take advantage of Mr. President’s health condition to take power through the back door.
“Whoever they are, they should know that any attempt to scuttle democracy in this country will be resisted by Nigerians. Military rule is no longer welcome in this country.
“But Buratai should start by naming these people; Nigerians need to know who they are so as to stop them,” the Ohanaeze Ndigbo stated.
In alignment with the Ohanaeze Ndigbo’s position, the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led National Caretaker Committee of the PDP also urged Buratai to expose politicians who were approaching soldiers for political reasons.
The National Publicity Secretary of the committee, Dayo Adeyeye, stated:
“He should come out more openly and tell Nigerians what is actually happening. What exactly is the nature of the contact politicians are making with the soldiers? We would like to know the nature of the contact and who and who are making the contact.
“It is only reasonable that he exposes those involved. What are those politicians making these contacts asking for? The truth is that as a nation, we cannot go back to Egypt, because democracy is our Promised Land.”
The National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, loyal to Senator Ali Modu-Sheriff, Bernard Miko, also commended the Army chief for reminding his officers and men of their professional ethics.
“The Chief of Army Staff is not a politician, but issuing routine administrative orders to his field commanders on professional ethics which is very commendable,” he said.
However, the Pan-Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere, warned Buratai not to turn himself to a whistle-blower.
Afenifere condemned Buratai’s allegations saying the comment had created fear in the minds of Nigerians that a military coup might occur at any time.
According to the Publicity Secretary of the group, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, the COAS should not have made that statement but should have dealt with his men, who were found guilty of hobnobbing with politicians.
“The Chief of Army Staff should not have turned himself to a whistle-blower over the matter. He has a directorate of military intelligence, it should have found out those soldiers contacted and who are contacting them, not to be blowing the whistle like the EFCC.
“It is very unfortunate that such a statement is coming out from the Chief of Army Staff. The statement has not only created fear but has also indicated that something can happen at any time,” Odumakin stated.