The Nigerian Army has debunked the rumour making the rounds in the social media that the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-Gen. Kenneth Minimah, and the military leadership are actively working for an interim government after May 29, 2015.
The Acting Director of Army Public Relations (Ag.DAPR), Col. Sani Usman, said in a statement on Tuesday that the Army's attention has "been drawn to spurious and unsubstantiated allegations being circulated, particularly in the social media, about the Nigerian Army, the Chief of Army Staff and some serving senior officers.
"Any discerning mind would notice that these false and baseless allegations are calculated attempts by unpatriotic elements to divide the Nigerian Army, create disaffection among its ranks and distract the service from its avowed constitutional duty of defending the territorial integrity of our great nation. Unfortunately for these individuals, their effort which are reminiscent of the NADECO days are obviously aimed at reversing the gains made and the renewed efforts in fighting terrorism and insurgency in the country is failing woefully".
Before dealing with these allegations, Usman said, it is important to note that these efforts are renewed attempts by the same faceless groups who since last year have made futile efforts to politicize ongoing counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations of the Nigerian Army and other security agencies.
He recalled that late last year, the same group using the stolen identity of a serving lieutenant colonel, wrote a petition to the president making all sorts of unfounded allegations.
He said the petition was thoroughly investigated by relevant security agencies, adding that the findings indicated that the petition was indeed the handiwork of faceless and unpatriotic individuals who seek to distract the army.
The ag. DAPR said the latest effort by these same group and their collaborators is the sensational and outrageous claim that the Chief of Army Staff is preparing to assume the leadership of this country through an interim government, in the event that the opposition party wins the 2015 general election at the federal level.
Usman warned that such unpatriotic act is “dangerous, condemnable and a great disservice, given the tremendous sacrifices of the Nigerian army in support of democracy in our nation.”
According to him, “This deliberate attempt to erode public confidence and trust in the Nigerian army will not be tolerated and the masterminds of these campaigns of calumny are advised to desist from their nefarious activities forthwith.”
Similarly, the army spokesman said, a letter has also surfaced in the social media purportedly written by ‘Concerned Officers and Soldiers of Operation Zaman Lafiya.’
Usman reminded Nigeria that the said letter was a rehash of the same issues peddled by the writers of a similar petition last year using the stolen identity of a serving military officer.
Also, he said, another online medium has claimed that two serving Major Generals of the Nigerian army have tendered “a letter of resignation” over an alleged disagreement with the Chief of Army Staff during a meeting.”
“The medium neither mentioned the names of the senior officers concerned, nor the time and place of the alleged meeting with the Chief of Army Staff. For the avoidance of doubt, there has been no resignation whatsoever in the Nigerian Army on account of the disagreement with the Chief of Army Staff.
“It must be stated categorically that the Nigerian Army is apolitical. In the same vein, it does not tolerate any of its officers or soldiers being involved in political matters”, he remarked.
In this regard, Usman continued, “it is recalled that the Chief of Army Staff while addressing the passing-out-parade of 71 Regular Recruits Intake at Depot Nigerian Army Zaria, recently, reiterated this thus, “As you all aware, this is an election year.”
The Ag. DAPR urged members of the public who are in doubt “to read and understand the code of conduct for military personnel during elections.
“You must remain apolitical at all times and in all situations. You must also see yourselves as ambassadors of the Nigerian Army and project the image of the Service positively at all times. To achieve this, you are expected to discharge your duties diligently, professionally and patriotically.”
Speaking further, Usman restated the fact that the Nigerian Army remains committed and loyal to the Constitution of the country and the President, Commander-in-Chief.
He said: “The army is conscious and committed to its subordination to constituted civil authorities.
“Politicians and their agents and agencies should please desist from attempts to drag the Nigerian Army into their political issues. Nigerian Army welcomes genuine complaints against individual officers and soldiers.
“Cases of alleged corruption or misconduct should therefore be directed to the appropriate civilian or military authority, instead of embarking on unfounded smear campaigns that will achieve no result.”