The Presidency has said that there is no cause for alarm over the rumours of a military coup d’etat circulating across the country.
The unsettling rumours have been on in the past few days following reports that some soldiers have been having an unholy alliance with some politicians, coupled with the sudden mass redeployments of army commanders across the country recently.
But the Presidency waded into the matter on Tuesday, explaining that the Chief of Army Staff, General Tukur Buratai, merely gave a routine warning to his officers and men against undue influence from politicians.
This much came off a press conference by presidential media aides to kickoff activities of the second anniversary of the Buhari Presidency on May 29.
The press conference was addressed by Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina; Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, and Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity (Office of the Vice President), Mr. Laolu Akande, at the State House, Abuja, yesterday.
Adesina asked Nigerians not to take the speculations of an impending coup beyond what it is.
His words: “What the Chief of Army Staff said was a routine warning that goes to military officers – don’t hobnob with politicians – and the army has explained the position.
“Let’s take that position and not stretch it beyond what the military has said because they are the ones that can give us the definitive position and they have spoken on it.”
Tasked on disrespect for the rule of law by the Buhari administration, especially in the case of the former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd) and leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (Shiite Movement) Ibrahim el-Zakzaky, the aides explained why the two men remained in detention despite being granted bail by courts.
Shehu said though Dasuki had been freed by the court on some charges, there were other cases against him that he must answer to. He therefore appealed to Nigerians to allow security agencies continue to do their work.
He also explained that Zakzaky was being kept by government for his own safety despite court order for his release, as he declared that the situation in Zaria and Kaduna which are the cleric’s bases, can still be volatile.
Shehu however, insisted that despite the apprehension of Nigerians, the Buhari administration’s human rights record is impeccable and unassailable.
According to him, “the human rights records of this administration are impeccable, they are unimpeachable.
“As we speak to you now, we are not aware that the administration of Muhammadu Buhari is in breach of the Constitution of Nigeria with regards to the protection of the rights of Nigerians. Journalists in this country ought to bear testimony on this.
“There is no single journalist that has been expelled from his duty because he has reported or failed to report. There is no single journalist who is in government detention because they have expressed some views that the government does not like.
“This administration is complying with the decision of the courts of the land. I assure that if anybody tries to do otherwise, the president will not allow him to get away with it.”
Nonetheless, Akande noted that the Federal Government has set up National Coordination Team to review the criminal justice system.
Meanwhile, Adesina described as unfair the rating of All Progressives Congress (APC) government led by President Muhammadu Buhari, as failure when it was only in its mid-term of a four-year mandate.
He pointed out that no scientific survey has been conducted which concludes that the Buhari’s administration has failed whereas the government never promised to solve all of Nigeria’s problems in two years.
According to him, “You cannot write the report card of this administration when it is just hitting the half-way mark, that will not be fair. The term is four years and the promises are going to be stretched over that four-year period.
“APC did not promise to solve all the country’s problems in one year or two years. The mandate the party as is four years and it is pacing itself as it goes along and I am sure that by the end of those four years we will have a lot more to record.
“This administration will take Nigeria far beyond how it met it. So, if anybody says APC has failed just tell them it is too early in the day. You don’t reach definitive conclusions in two years.”
Adesina added that “if elections are held today, Buhari will win overwhelming. The masses are happy with him”.
Before the press conference started, Adesina called for one-minute silence in honour of Chukwuma Onuekwusi, Channels Television State House correspondent who died early Wednesday.
The Presidency also denied reports that it paid €2 million to secure the release of the recent 82 Chibok Girls from their Boko Haram captors.