The Nigerian Army has warned that, it will not allow subversive and unscrupulous elements to destabilise the peace and stability of the country stressing that is determined to ensure democratic stability, as the only panacea for development and progress.
Penpushing reports that, the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai gave the warning during a meeting with Principal Staff Officers, Commanding Officers and field commanders in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The Chief Of Army Staff (COAS), declared to the soldiers that there would be no room for disloyalty amongst all officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army, stressing that all their subordinates that the army, the best system of governance is democracy and we must all ensure that Nigeria’s democracy remained 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 destabilisation”.
Penpushing further reports that, the military boss pointed out that the events of the past few days in the country have shown the determination of some unscrupulous individuals and groups to destabilise Nigeria by all means.
The Chief of Army Staff noted that those elements, groups and other hoodlums eventually hijacked the peaceful protest marches that resulted in widespread violence, acts of wanton destruction and looting of public and private properties in many parts of the country.
Penpushing also reports that Buratai said, these acts, led to the imposition of curfew in several states of the federation, adding that, the army had been aware from the onset of the police protrests, about the grand design by the sponsors of the protests to draw it into the crisis
The army boss disclosed that the plan was to embark on massive propaganda to discredit the military and the government, so as to set the people against the army once it was called out to aid civil authorities.
Penpushing reports that he said, the army being aware of the plan, was careful not to be dragged in, and issued the initial warning through a press release on October 14 of its resolve to secure and safeguard a united Nigeria.
“Now the detractors alongside their local and international collaborators have mischievously and deliberately misrepresented troops’ efforts to ensure compliance with the curfew imposed by legitimate civil authorities in Lagos and other states’.
“These agitators are falsely accusing the army of being responsible for the activities of the miscreants in spite of glaring evidence to the contrary. They have continually threatened to report the 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.
The Chief of Army Staff stressed that the army had continued to exercise restraint and fully abided by the internationally recognised rules of engagement as contained in its published Standard Operating Procedures for Internal Security Operations.
Penpushing further reports that, Buratai explained that the processes were derived from the International Human Rights Laws in accordance with the international principles guiding the use of force.
The military leader encouraged officers and soldiers not be afraid of the International Criminal Court( ICC )for carrying out their legitimate duties as stated in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and other extant laws, rules and regulations of Nigeria.
Penpushing reports he declared that the army had every right under the constitution to carry out assigned and legitimate roles of maintaining law and order in aid of civil authorities and other security agencies.
The Chief of Army of Staff stated that anyone who doubted their commitment to their constitutional responsibilities must be made to know that they remained committed, loyal and unwavering in ensuring the unity, stability and security of our dear country Nigeria.
Penpushing further reports that, he charged them to show the detractors and other elements of destabilisation that they are neither part of them nor in any way supportive of their activities at all times, directing that any act of arson or attempt to kill or maim any military or security personnel and other law abiding civilians must be responded to quickly and decisively.
The army boss encouraged his officers and men to fully cooperate with the police and other security agencies to ensure that they are in full compliance with imposed curfews and any other extant security instructions in force, adding that the recent activities by unscrupulous elements had shown their desire to acquire arms and ammunition at all cost from security personnel.
Penpushing also reports that he disclosed that no fewer than 10 AK-47 rifles have been lost to these miscreants in the past two weeks across the country with the attendant loss of lives of personnel.
The Chief of Army Staff, charged commanders to nip in the bud these emerging trends at all cost, and directed them to warn their troops on internal security or on guard duties outside the barracks to be at maximum alert at all times, and to also deal decisively with any attack on their duty locations.
Penpushing reports that, Burutai explained that there was no choice between a democratically united, strong and prosperous Nigeria and a nation disunited in a state of anarchy and retrogression, adding, “we must all strive for a united, strong, stable and progressive Nigeria,” he said.