Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, Chief of Army Staff , has issued a stern warning to all officers and soldiers in the Nigerian Army to stay away from politics, disclosing that some politicians have been making frantic efforts to infiltrate his officers for various political “actions and gains”.
Buratai’s warning may have something to do with the inconsistency of the polity at the moment, owing to President Muhammadu Buhari’s undisclosed illness, which made his return to the United Kingdom expedient.
Although he fell short of elaborating on what the political “actions and gains” were, the Army chief’s warning came on the heels of a report of an attempt by some politicians to infiltrate the military, particularly the Nigerian Army.
This must have given some concerns, necessitating the reshuffling of top military officers in the Nigerian Army last week.
A statement issued by the Director of Army Public Relations, Brig. Gen. Sani Usman, said the army headquarters and the COAS had received information about such “sinister plans” by some politicians to steer some army officers out of course.
“This is to inform the public that the Chief of Army Staff, Nigerian Army and Lieutenant-General TY Buratai have received information that some individuals have been approaching some officers and soldiers for undisclosed political reasons.
“On the basis of that, he has warned such persons to desist from these acts.
“He also reminded them that the Nigerian Army is a thorough professional, disciplined, loyal and apolitical institution that has clear constitutional roles and responsibilities.
“He seriously warned and advised all officers and soldiers interested in politics to resign their commission or apply for voluntary discharge forthwith,” Usman said.
According to Usman, any officer or soldier of the Nigerian Army found to be hobnobbing with such elements or engaged in unprofessional conduct such as politicking would have himself or herself to blame.
“The COAS has further reiterated that the Nigerian Army will remain apolitical and respect the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” he added.
Recall that in Nigeria’s 56, there is this history of military incursions in politics, some of which have been carried out with the connivance of politicians in the country.
The military’s incursions have always resulted in the suspension of the constitution and truncation of democratic rule. Buhari’s illness might as well be a tool in the hands of unscrupulous politicians.