By Andrew Orolua
Nigeria’s Army is determination not to allow any force whatsoever to destabilize the country, Lt.-Gen Tukur Buratai vowed yesterday. Threatening to deal decisively with subversive elements bent on destabilising Nigeria, the Chief of Army Staff alleged that the recent nationwide protests against police brutality and ageold bad governance were sponsored to destabilise the country. He spoke at a meeting with Principal Staff Officers (PSOs), General Officers Commanding (GOCs) and field commanders on how to decisively deal with the emerging national security threats.
The meeting “resolved to ensure that subversive elements do not succeed in their plan to destabilise Nigeria.” General Buratai drew the attention of all the participants at the meeting to the fact that “the events of the past few days in our dear nation have shown the determination of some unscrupulous individuals and groups to destabilize Nigeria by all means.
“These individuals, groups and other undesirable elements have hijacked the peaceful #ENDSARS protest marches resulting to widespread violence, acts of wanton destruction and looting of public and private property in many parts of the country, leading to the imposition of curfew in several states of the federation,” he remarked.
He warned that the army “will not allow any force, elements or destabilising agents in or outside our country to set our beloved country on fire.” He also said that “right from the onset of #ENDSARS protest, the Nigerian Army has been aware of the grand design by the sponsors of the protests to draw it into the crisis.
“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 is called out to aid the civil authorities.
“The Nigerian Army being aware of the devilish plan was careful not to be dragged in and issued the initial warning through a press release on 14 October 2020 of our 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 Nigerian Army of being responsible for the activities of the miscreants despite glaring evidence to the contrary.”
According to him, they have “continually threatened to report the Nigerian Army to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and also threatened various forms of sanctions against personnel and their families. He said that “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.
Buratai further stated that despite all these, the Nigerian Army has continued to exercise restraint, applied all the Principles of Internal Security Operations and fully abided by the internationally recognized Rules of Engagement as contained in published Standard Operating Procedures for Internal Security Operations. These rules are derived from the International Human Rights Laws and are in accordance with the international principles guiding the use of force.
He urged PSOs, GOCs, Field Commanders and other officers and soldiers of the service 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.
“They have 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,” he said.
He reiterated that anyone who doubts 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. COAS charged them to show the detractors and other elements of destabilization that they are neither part of them nor in anyway supportive of their activities at all times.
According to him “In dealing with any security threat, they must fully cooperate with personnel of the Nigerian Police Force and other security agencies and must ensure that everyone is in full compliance with imposed curfews and any other extant security instructions in force”.
Buratai also alerted the PSOs, GOCs and field commanders that “The recent activities by unscrupulous elements have shown their desire to acquire arms and ammunition at all costs from security personnel adding that “no less than 10 AK-47 rifles have been lost to these miscreants in the past two weeks across the country with attendant loss of lives of personnel.”
Therefore, he charged commanders to nip in the bud “this emerging trend 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”.
He stressed that “There is no choice between a democratically united, strong and prosperous Nigeria and a nation disunited in a state of anarchy and retrogression. We must all strive for a united, strong, stable and progressive Nigeria”.
He directed the PSOs, GOCs and field commander to impress it on all their subordinates that the army is determined to ensure democratic stability in Nigeria as the only panacea for development and progress.
“The best system of governance is democracy and we must all ensure that Nigeria’s democracy remains 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”.
Meanwhile a statement issued at the end of the meeting contained the following resolutions: That the Nigerian Army remains loyal to the Federal Government of Nigeria under President Muhammadu Buhari. That the army ensure the unity and indivisibility of our country and assist the Federal Government to bring an end to insecurity across the country and to prevent miscreants and criminals from hijacking the #ENDSARS protest nationwide.
They also resolved remain focused and not to be deterred by any local or international threats. All commanders have been directed to intensify joint training with the Nigerian Police and other Sister Security Agencies to enhance interagency collaboration and cooperation.
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