As rumour of coup heightened in Nigeria, with insinuations that some notable northern elements are plotting to prevent Acting President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo from taking over power in the event of President Muhammadu Buhari’s incapacitation, the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, has given a stern warning to army officials to stay off politics and politically related activities.
Mr. Buratai gave the order on Tuesday via a statement issued by the Army spokesperson, Sani Usman, a brigadier general.
The army chief warned all officers and soldiers interested in politics to resign their commission or apply for voluntary discharge forthwith.
The statement read; “This is to inform the public that the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Nigerian Army, has received information that some individuals have been approaching some officers and soldiers for undisclosed political reasons. On the basis of that, he has warned such persons to desist from these acts.
“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.”
Although Mr. Usman did not disclose the “political reasons”, information from military sources are suggestive that the Army hierarchy was disturbed by rumours of a coup being planned by junior officers.
The concern may have informed Mr. Buratai’s decision to reshuffle the postings of top military generals.
The rumours worsened following President Muhammadu Buhari’s recent sickness that saw him travelling to London for further treatment, weeks after he spent over 50 days in London for medical reasons. Like in his previous trip, the president wrote the National Assembly transferring powers to his deputy, Mr. Osinbajo.