The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai, has accused some officers and political class of being responsible for the rumour of a plot to overthrow the government of President Muhammadu Buhari. He, however, did not disclose the identities of dramatis personae behind the rumoured coup.
Buratai, who spoke yesterday at a press conference on Nigerian Army Day Celebration scheduled to hold between July 11 and 14, however, warned against any military misadventure, saying investigations were ongoing to unmask those behind the speculation. He said it would be foolhardy for anyone to attempt to destabilise government, even as he stated that the ongoing investigation was in the interest of national security. “We are much better under democracy. Military misadventure in democracy should not repeat itself.
“We see it as an attempt to show some misgivings by some officers and the political class, but they will fail,” the COAS said. A group of militants under the aegis of the Joint Niger Delta Liberation Force (JNDLF) had alleged of a sinister plot by some unnamed military officers to disrupt civil rule.
“We are constrained to let the cat out of the bag today that President Muhammadu Buhari should be wary about the security of this country as some military men are making moves to remove him from power by instigating civil unrest in the country. “Some top military men, through their civil agents, approached us to cause and continue the vandalism of oil and gas pipelines in the Niger Delta to serve as an excuse to take over the government from democracy to military rule in the country,” the group had said in a statement.
Speaking on the sack of over 20 senior officers, Buratai said: “Due process was followed in their sack, and we are making clarifications.” He applauded the fact that some of the affected officers have approached the court to seek redress, noting that some of them have written to the Army, and that same was being looked at. Buratai said that the Nigerian Army had begun the process of developing ‘cyber warriors’ within the Force.
The COAS noted that the initiative would help the Nigerian Army fight and defeat ‘terrorists’, who he said, have since migrated to the cyber space, where they have launched a campaign of calumny against the Army.
This was as the Army Chief insisted that the recent compulsory retirement of some senior officers, followed due process. Buratai made the disclosures yesterday in Abuja, at a press conference on Nigerian Army Day Celebration scheduled to hold between July 11 and 14.
While responding to allegations by an online report recently, that the COAS owns some properties in Dubai, he simply expressed confidence that as the Army defeated Boko Haram in the North-East, so will it defeat terrorists on the Internet and other electronic media platforms.
In the said report, Buratai was alleged to own properties, which were said to have been acquired through suspicious means. He was also alleged to have refurbished some motorbikes, and presented them as brand new ones. But, the COAS in a reaction yesterday, said: “We have already defeated the insurgents and terrorists on the land; now, they have migrated to the Internet and other electronic media.
“I want to tell them that now that the insurgents have migrated to the cyber space, we will follow them there and clear their doubts; we will defeat them. “We are developing our own cyber warriors in the Nigerian Army, and we will defeat them as we defeated Boko Haram in the North-East.” Answering a question on the position of the abducted Chibok schoolgirls vis-a-vis the rescued teenage- girl, the COAS said the case of the abducted girls has been politicised.
He, however, reiterated the fact that the Army will remain apolitical and professional, as it sustains its operation to rescue the schoolgirls and other captives. “You have been told that two of the Chibok girls have been rescued. I know, as it is now, the issue of the Chibok girls has been politicised. “We are not deterred by this. Anybody that we rescue is as important as the Chibok girls,” he said.
He said the abducted schoolgirls could be “spread over, or they could be in one place”, adding that “we are still searching for them, and we will continue to search for them. “Today, their condition, nobody can say, but we are still working on intelligence.”
Meanwhile, there are indications that the Federal Government may have given a clean bill of health to Buratai, in respect of a recent online report alleging shady acquisition of property in Dubai, the United Arab Emirate (UAE). According to PRNigeria, the said acquisitions were in line with the capital market principles of shareholding.
The report said: “The capital market principle that governed the properties in issue, as it was found by investigators, was akin to having shares in companies instead of wholly owning the properties.”
It added that “The government, after investigating a recent media report over the acquisition of properties in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) by General Buratai, discovered that he and his wives invested as “shareholders” like many other persons in the properties mentioned in the publications and were not the sole owners.” The report quoted a source as noting that: “If you know the properties being referred to, you would know that they are like quoted companies.
You buy into them and get dividends as profit from your investments. You can also do your own private findings on this fact.” An intelligence military officer said to have been involved in the investigation, was said to have confirmed that “the Dubai property is real estate investment tailored to operate on capital market principles of shares for dividends and profits as proceeds from investment rather than total ownership of the property.”
The source further disclosed that “The large scale farm produces grains, cassavas, millets and also has fish pond apart from variety of animals and reptiles that provide specialised nutrients and medicament for different clients. The 1999 Constitution (as amended) under Fifth Schedule Part 1- permits a public officer to engage in farming.”