The Chief Of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai has warned that the army would not allow subversive and unscrupulous elements to destabilise the peace and stability of Nigeria.
The Acting Director, Army Public Relations, Col. Sagir Musa, said that Buratai made the remarks; during a meeting with Principal Staff Officers; Commanding Officers; and field commanders on Monday, October 26, in Abuja.
Musa briefed newsmen on the outcome of the meeting at a news conference.
Buratai told the PSOs; GOCs; and field commanders that there would be no room for disloyalty; amongst all officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army.
He directed that they must reiterate to all their subordinates that the army was determined to ensure democratic stability in Nigeria; as the only panacea for development and progress.
According to him, the best system of governance was 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”.
Buratai stated that the events of the past few days in the country had shown the determination of some unscrupulous individuals and groups to destabilise Nigeria by all means.
He said that those individuals, groups, and other undesirable elements eventually hijacked the peaceful #EndSARS protest marches that resulted in widespread violence; acts of wanton destruction; as well as looting of public and private properties in many parts of the country.
These acts according to him, led to the imposition of curfew in several states of the federation.
The COAS added that the army had been aware from the onset of the #EndSARS protest; about the grand design by the sponsors of the protests to draw it into the crisis.
He added that the plan was to embark on massive propaganda to discredit the military and also the government; so as to set the people against the army once it was called out to aid civil authorities.
According to him, the army being aware of the plan was careful not to be dragged in and issued the initial warning through a press release on Oct. 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 also deliberate misrepresentation of facts being orchestrated by enemies of Nigeria and have retracted their earlier false publications,” he said.
Buratai stressed that the army had continued to exercise restraint and also fully abided by the internationally recognised rules of engagement as contained in its published Standard Operating Procedures for Internal Security Operations.
He said the processes were derived from the International Human Rights Laws in accordance with the international principles guiding the use of force.
The COAS, however, encouraged officers as well as soldiers not to be afraid of the 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.
He said they 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.
According to him, there was no choice between a democratically united, strong as well as prosperous Nigeria; and also a nation disunited in a state of anarchy and retrogression.