The British government has warned against the planning or execution of a coup in Nigeria by soldiers as a way of changing government insisting it will not support such undemocratic process.
There was concern that some soldiers were being approached by politicians on how to carry out a coup and this concern was strengthened by Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Tukur Buratai’s warning to soldiers not to mix with politicians.
The army chief warned all officers and soldiers interested in politics to resign their commission or apply for voluntary discharge forthwith. “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” the Army said in a statement signed by its spokesperson, Sani Usman, a brigadier-general.
The Punch reports that Britain in its reaction warned against a military change of government insisting democratic processes should be the only method of selecting leaders.
The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Paul Arkwright, spoke on Wednesday, May 18, saying leadership must be about choices.
The High Commissioner spoke on the sidelines at an event held in Abuja to formally launch a new report on corruption in Nigeria which was put together by UK policy think-tank, Chatham House.
He said: “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 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…”
Also, the Ahmed Makarfi-led faction of the People Democratic Party asked Buratai to name the politicians and soldiers that were in alliance to overthrow the government.
The party said: “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.”
Similarly, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo has told Buratai to expose those approaching soldiers for political reasons.
The apex pan-Igbo organization warned against attempt by anybody or group, to take advantage of President Buhari’s sickness “to take power through the backdoor.”
Deputy Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chuks Ibegbu, “warned that any attempt to scuttle democracy in this country will be resisted by Nigerians. Military rule is no longer welcome in this country”