No fewer than 10 AK-47 riffles have been lost to the #ENDSARS NOW protests across the country, that was reportedly hijacked by suspected hoodlums, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt Gen Tukur Yusufu Buratai has disclosed.
He also said that right from the onset of ENDSARS protest, the 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”.
Making the disclosure during a media briefing in Army headquarters in Abuja, yesterday, Col Sagir Musa, Acting Director Army Public Relations, said it was in the high points of the meeting Buratai held with his Principal Staff Officers (PSOs), General Officers Commanding(GOCs) and Field Commanders at the Army Headquarters, in Abuja yesterday, as the COAS charged the army to be loyal to the federal government of Nigeria under the leadership of President Mohammadu Buhari, stressing there will be no room for disloyalty amongst all officers and soldiers.
Hear Buratai: “No less than 10 AK-47 rifles have been lost to these miscreants in the past 2 weeks across the country with attendant lost of lives of personnel”.
He directed that any act of arson or attempt to kill or maim any military or security personnel and other law abiding civilians must be responded to quickly and decisively.
He charged the Commanders to nip in the bud “this emerging trend at all cost, and directed them to warn their troops on internal security”.
“At the meeting, the COAS Lt Gen TY Buratai made it unambiguously clear to the PSOs, GOCs and Field Commanders that there will be no room for disloyalty amongst all officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army (NA). He directed that they (PSOs, GOCs and Field Commanders) must reiterate to all their subordinates that the NA is determined to ensure democratic stability in Nigeria”.
Buratai also said, “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”.
On the #ENDSARS NOW protests Buratai said, “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 properties in many parts of the country.
“These acts led to the imposition of curfew in several states of the federation”.
He continued: “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.
“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 urged the officers and 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 however, reiterated that anyone who doubted their commitment to their constitutional responsibilities must be made to know that they remain committed, loyal and unwavering in ensuring the unity, stability and security of our dear country Nigeria.
He 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.
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”. General Buratai concluded 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”.
By John Nwokocha