By Chimezie Godfrey
The Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt Gen Turkur Yusuf Buratai has reiterated the commitment of the Nigerian Army to maintain the stability of the country’s democracy.
He said this during a press briefing and as part of the resolutions reached from his meeting with the Principal Staff Officers, General Officers Commanding and Field Commanders on Monday in Abuja.
Buratai who was represented by the Acting Director, Army Public Relations, Col. Sagir Musa, noted that democracy is still the best system of government and therefore urged the officers not to relent in their efforts in ensuring that the country’s democracy is stable.
Buratai made it unambiguously clear to the PSOs, GOCs and Field Commanders that there will be no room for disloyalty amongst all officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army.
He directed that the PSOs, GOCs and Field Commanders must reiterate to all their subordinates that the Nigerian Army is determined to ensure democratic stability in Nigeria as the only panacea for development and progress.
He said,”The best system of governance is democracy and we must all ensure that Nigeria’s democracy remains stable and steady.
“We will not allow any force, elements or destabilising agents in or outside our country to set our beloved country on fire.
“We remain resolute in doing everything possible to ensure that subversive elements, detractors and other enemies of this great nation do not achieve their aims and objectives of destabilization.”
Gen Buratai noted that recent events have shown the determination of some unscrupulous elements to destabilize the country.
According to him, these undesirable elements have hijacked the #EndSARS protest which has resulted to widespread violence, acts of wanton destruction, looting of private and private properties in many parts of the country.
He said these acts led to the imposition of curfew in several states of the federation, while he accused the sponsors of the protest of trying to discredit the military and the government.
“Right from the onset of the #EndSARS protest, the Nigerian Army has been aware of the grand design by the sponsors if the protests to draw it into the crises.
“The plan was to embark on massive propaganda to discredit the military and the government so as to set the people against the Nigerian Army once it is called out to aid the civil authorities.
“The Nigerian Army being aware of the devilish plan was careful not to be dragged in and issued the initial warning through a press release on 14th October, 2020 of our resolve to secure and safeguard a United Niger,” he said.
Buratai decried the detractors’ alliance with their local and international collaborators to mischievously and deliberately misrepresent troops’ effort to ensure compliance with the curfew imposed by legitimate civil authorities in Lagos and other state.
“These agitators are falsely accusing the the Nigerian Army of being responsible for the activities of the miscreants despite glaring evidence to the contrary.
“They have continually threatened to report the Nigerian Army to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and also threatened various forms of sanctions against personnel and their families.
“Thankfully however, a large percentage of Nigerians and the international community have started seeing through the smokescreen of falsehood and deliberate misrepresentation of facts being orchestrated by enemies of Nigeria and have retracted their earlier false publications,’ he said.
Buratai however, urged the PSOs, GOCs, Field Commanders and other officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army not be afraid of the ICC for carrying out their legitimate duties as stated in the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended) and other extant laws, rules and regulations of Nigeria.
He reiterated and warned that anyone who doubts their commitment to their constitutional responsibilities must be made to know that they remain committed, loyal and unwavering in ensuring the unity, stability and security of the country.
Gen Buratai further alerted the PSOs, GOCs, and Field Commanders of the recent activities by unscrupulous elements who have shown their desire to acquire arms and ammunition at all cost from security personnel.
According to him, no less than 10 AK-47 rifles have been lost to these miscreants in the past 2 weeks across the country with attendant loss of lives and personnel.
He charged the Commanders to nip this emerging trend in the bud at all cost.