– The UK warned against soldiers carrying out a coup in Nigeria
– This followed a warning by the chief of army staff warning soldiers not to mix with politicians
– The UK government said it would not support an undemocratic change of government The UK government has warned against the planning or execution of a coup in Nigeria by soldiers as a way of changing government insisting it will not support such undemocratic process. There was concern that some soldiers were being approached by politicians on how to carry out a coup and this concern as strengthened by Lieutenant-General Tukur Buratai’s warning to soldiers not to mix with politicians.
The army chief warned all officers and soldiers interested in politics to resign their commission or apply for voluntary discharge forthwith. “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.” The Punch reports that the UK in its reaction warned against a military change of government insisting democratic processes should be the only method of selecting leaders. The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Paul Arkwright, spoke on Wednesday, May 18 saying leadership must be about choices. He said: “The British Government believes that democracy is absolutely critical in Nigeria. There is a democratic process here; there are elections. If you are not happy with your leaders, then you should change your leadership process through your leaders and through elections. “That is exactly what happened in 2015 and it is what the British Government will expect to happen in Nigeria. So, our position is very clear; we stand for democracy, we stand for the democratic process and we stand for change, if that is what the people of Nigeria want. “It has to be a choice that the people make and not a choice that is imposed upon them.” Also, the Ahmed Makarfi-led faction of the People Democratic Party asked Buratai to name the politicians and soldiers that were in alliance to overthrow the government.
The party said: “He should come out more openly and tell Nigerians what is actually happening. What exactly is the nature of the contact politicians are making with the soldiers? We would like to know the nature of the contact and who and who are making the contact.
“It is only reasonable that he exposes those involved. What are those politicians making these contacts asking for? The truth is that as a nation, we cannot go back to Egypt, because democracy is our Promised Land.”
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