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Military not planning coup, remains loyal to democracy – Defence HQ *Warns against dangerous rumours

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There is no truth in the story that soldiers are about to truncate the current democracy in Nigeria through another military putsch, close to 24 years after they returned to the barracks, after 16 years in power after the incumbent, President Muhammadu Buhari emerged Head of State after sacking the third republic headed by then President Shehu Shagari.

The last stretch of military leaders began with Buhari, who seized power on December 31, 1983, which subsisted with three other military leaders – Ibrahim Babangida, Sani Abacha and Abdulsalami Abubakar taking turns turns, outside the few months interregnum of the Interim National Government (ING) of Ernest Shonekan, shortly after the annulment of the June 12, 1993 election won by late business mogul, Moshood Kashimawo Olawale (MKO) Abiola.

Nigeria had descended into an internecine atmosphere of upheaval which ended with swearing in of President Olusegun Obasanjo on May 29, 1999, following the strange death of Abacha, who sacked Shonekan, three months after he was inaugurated by Babangida as the leader of the country under the ING arrangement, and the take over of Abubakar, a year before to oversee a one-year transition period.

Against the backdrop that Nigeria might be returning to the era of the khaki boys, as the soldiers were known, the Nigerian military high command, not only dismissed the rumours of a plot at a return, but described it as ‘malicious propaganda,’ according to a statement on Saturday by the acting Director, Defence Information, Brigadier General, Tukur Gusau.

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The statement partly read: “The Armed Forces of Nigeria notes with dismay the story being peddled around by some unscrupulous elements alleging that some military officers met with a Presidential candidate with the aim of disrupting the general elections and setting the country on fire.

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“The wicked and very malicious propaganda indicated that a so-called Thursday meeting is plotting a Coup d’etat to establish unconstitutional order. The Armed Forces of Nigeria is disheartened that even politically exposed persons can denigrate themselves into joining agents of destabilisation and violence in making false claims just to heighten tension in the polity.

“It needs to be stated that the Armed Forces of Nigeria is a professional military that is loyal to the constitution of the Federal Republic and will never be part of any evil plot against our democracy. Besides, the Military remains apolitical and neutral in the current political process and will not engage in the alleged shenanigans.

“The Armed Forces of Nigeria will never be part of any ignoble plot to truncate our hard-earned democracy. The Armed Forces of Nigeria hereby warn that those who engage in fabricating and spreading unfounded misinformation will be invited by the appropriate law enforcement agencies to substantiate their claims.”

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BREAKING: Kaduna boils again! One week after death of seven in mosque attack, gunmen raze down Catholic Church *Kill aspiring priest

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Guns boomed once again in parts of Kaduna State on Thursday, following another onslaught by gunmen, on a Catholic Parish house in Kamantan, Zangon Kataf Local Government Area of the state, adding to the list of a phenomenon, which gained intensity during the time of Nasir El-Rufai between 2015 and 2023.

Thursday’s attack, which is another major one in the period of the new administration of Ubah Sani, who was sworn in on May 29, 2023, is coming after six people were killed in a mosque at Saya-Saya village in Ikara Local Government Area of the state on Friday, September 1.

Details of the attack at the church Parish, in Kamantan of the Catholic Diocese of Kafanchan, Jema’a Local Government Area, are still sketchy, but the gunmen, who stormed the church, were said to have set it ablaze adding that a seminarian, who was trying to escape died in the process.

Reports, quoting sources, said that the attackers stormed the parish house at about 8:00 p.m. and set it ablaze alongside a vehicle, while the deceased seminarian, identified as Stephen Naman, died from the smoke he inhaled while trying to escape from the grasp of the attackers.

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Ghana opposition to ECOWAS: What’s democracy with Tinubu as your leader?

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From Ghana, one of Nigeria’s neighbours, came a very instructive question over the moral grounds on which leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) would stand to order a military intervention to restore democracy in Niger Republic, with the legitimate crises trailing President Bola Tinubu, its leader.

The declaration of the former Governor of Lagos State, who contested the February 25 presidential election on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), is currently facing an intense challenge from Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Peter Obi, of the Labour Party (LP), at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT).

Questioning the haste with which the Authority of the ECOWAS Heads of Government, elevated him to lead them, Kwesi Pratt jnr, General Secretary of the Socialist Movement of Ghana, one of its main opposition parties, said the move alone underscored the hypocrisy of the leaders, who themselves, had failed to demonstrate any iota of democratic credentials.

Hear him: “One of the things which they have done that is completely crazy, was Tinubu, who had won a disputed election. The matter is in court and has not finished, West African leaders met and made him their chairman. And they say they’re committed to democracy? These crazy leaders we have in West Africa. They’re not even patient enough to wait for the outcome of the petition before the court, but went ahead to make him their chairman and then, they turn round and tell us that they love democracy. What kind of democracy do they love?”

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Further lampooning them over their decision after a meeting in Abuja last Sunday, to make military intervention one of the options in their list of actions to force the military junta now in place in the country to return power to the ousted President, Mohamed Bazoum, he described their hasty action as coming from threats that they might be the next, due to their poor leadership that had impoverished their people.

His words: “These leaders who are threatening to stage military intervention are responsible for what is happening. They’re talking about going to restore democracy in Niger, was there democracy before in Niger? Was there anything that looked like democracy in Niger before the coup? These are frightened leaders – leaders who have failed in their countries, who are afraid that what has happened would engulf them and are trying to smother the flames. And they’ll not succeed. They’re only trying to create more problems for the region.

“Now, are they not the same leaders who went to Cote D’Ivoire when the French forces overthrew Laurent Gbabo and installed Alhassan Watara to go and congratulate him? Where is their commitment to democracy? These West African leaders have been changing their constitution, allowing themselves to go for third terms in spite of the massive protests taking place. When they succeed in changing their constitutions and going for third term, is it not the same leaders that go to congratulate them? What’s their commitment to democracy?

The Ghanaian politician, argued that the main beneficiary of the proposed intervention would be the Western countries, that had continued to supervise the poor leadership of the ECOWAS leaders as they had done in the entire African continent, adding that in this case, France, which had remained the major leach sucking the country dry, would continue what they had done for decades – mine the uranium deposits in Niger, while not only pauperising the country but leaving the populace with diseases associated with their mining activities.

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“One out of every light bulbs in France is powered by uranium from Niger. Yet, Niger is one of the poorest countries in the world. But our leaders are not thinking about this paradox. What they care about is going to reinstall one of their colleagues, who messed up so much. All the French-speaking African states, keep their money in the French Central Bank. The consequence is that all these French-speaking African countries, borrow this money and pay interest for their own money. Yet, West African leaders are not sensible enough to realize that the way out of this is to have a common currency for West Africa to enable these French-speaking West African countries to break away from this neo-colonialism.

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“They don’t even realize that that is the key to solving many of the problems that confront us in the sub-region. They can’t see that. We’ve been talking about West African currencies for how long? What have they done in other to promote that? Then, they go and sit down somewhere in Abuja and they decide to send soldiers. Whose soldier should go and die to install a useless President?”

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I came, I saw, I left great legacy, Baba, ex-IGP, boasts *Nigeria in safe hands – Egbetokun

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“As I exit the leadership of the force today, I believe that I am leaving it better than I met it. I believe that I have added value to policing in Nigeria,” were the exact words with which Usman Baba, immediate past Inspector General of Police (IGP), finally bowed out from Nigeria Police Force (NPF), on Wednesday, two years after being appointed to its top position by former President, Muhammadu Buhari in 2021.

Baba, who spoke on the day he handed to Kayode Egbetokun, whose appointment as the new police boss by President Bola Tinubu, on Monday, said he had set out to positively change policing narratives in Nigeria by laying out a well-articulated vision and mission objectives upon his appointment.

Apart from his pledge to address the welfare concerns of serving and retired officers and enhance the operational capacity of the force through the procurement of critical operational assets, which he pursued during his time in office, he recounted how he also set out to reposition special detachments of the force, particularly the marine and air wings, the special forces, the police mobile force, the counterterrorism unit and the special protection unit.

Explaining that he also tried to enhance the intelligence capacity of the force through the push for the cam scanner upgrade of the technical intelligence assets, he said: “I am convinced that steady progress has been made in all components of my promise to change policing narratives and restore the dwindling police primacy within the internal security architecture of the country.

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“We might not be there yet, but certainly the pathways have been clearly defined; a firm foundation built, and giant strides taken. These are for the new leadership to leverage in the quest for a better police force.”

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Baba, who commended the force for their loyalty, sacrifice, and duty orientation, which he said aided his administration to attain most of the set leadership visions and targets, added: “I specially thank members of the force management team for being strategic partners all through my leadership journey.’’

Egbetokun, while thanking Tinubu for the confidence reposed in him, said his appointment was a call to commitment and a platform to make a difference in the shared mission of the president to safeguard the lives and well-being of Nigerians.

Stating that the force under his leadership, would strive for excellence, transparency, and accountability to rebuild public trust, added that it would also strive to restore public confidence in law enforcement institutions and create a Nigeria where every citizen would feel safe, protected and respected, promising to unveil new tactics to release the great potential of the force to secure the country and build lasting peace.

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