Military reacts to Robert Clarke's 'coup' statement

The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has warned politicians and military personnel against planning a coup.

The DHQ was reacting to statement by Robert Clarke, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, calling for power to be handed over to the military.

Clarke had while speaking on Sunday Politics, a Channels Television's Programme, said that the country was on the verge of collapse, asking that a state of emergency be declared.

He said President Muhammadu Buhari should handover power to the military and that Nigeria should be divided into six geopolitical zones.

“The security section is talking and talking and talking, what are they doing? The security situation in this country today is so bad that I, Robert Clarke, cannot guarantee Nigeria another six months," he said.

“The problems are so overwhelming and they have been created by these same politicians since 1999 constitution came in to be and this crop of politicians, young boys then, who were swimming in Sani Abacha's loot and trying to form as many political parties for him, got into money and came into politics, Nigeria has never been the same.

“Nigeria is worse than it was in 1982. 1982 when Shehu Shagari was the president of the country is a better Nigeria than today, 2021. What is the cause? The cause is the leadership we have.

“Now, I want to propose about security, I may be right or wrong. Now, there is no gainsaying that Nigeria is on the brink of collapse. I had, seven years ago, 70% interest in this government, today I don't have 10% in this government again.

“Something has to be done and these are my solutions: Nigeria has to be changed from what it is today and the only way to change it is to create a state (of emergency) that will make the 1999 constitution ungovernable. We want a state of emergency to be created in Nigeria today.

“How do we do it? Under the Nigerian constitution, the President, who is the commander-in-chief has all the power to delegate all his chief powers to the chief of defence staff. Let him now talk to the president of the Senate, let him now talk to the Speaker of the house and all the governors that a state of emergency is now going to be declared in Nigeria, which means all governors must go, all legislators must go.

“The military will now set up six geographical zones that we believe in our hearts, still exists but let's start on that. Allow military governance over those states. I can assure you, the day Nigeria is released to six states, and there is a state of emergency, 80% of the money being spent on governance will be returned to the treasury. Then, we can sit and rejig Nigeria, let all the states control their internal resources.

In a statement on Monday by its spokesperson, Onyema Nwachukwu, the military dissociated itself from Clarke's statement which it described as “anti-democratic” and said it remains loyal to the current administration.

“The attention of the military high command has been drawn to a statement purported to have been made by one Robert Clark SAN, suggesting that current political leadership should hand over power to the military for the purpose of restructuring,” the statement said.

“The Nigerian Military wish to dissociate itself from such anti-democratic utterance and position. Let it be stated categorically that the Armed Forces of Nigeria remain fully committed to the present Administration and all associated democratic institutions. We shall continue to remain apolitical, subordinate to the Civil Authority, firmly loyal to the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari and the 1999 Constitution as Amended.

“We shall continue to discharge our constitutional responsibilities professionally, especially in protecting the country’s democracy, defence of the territorial integrity of the country as well as protection of lives and properties of citizens.

The DHQ warned politicians and military personnel against contemplating the idea of a coup as the full wrath of the law will be brought on anyone caught doing so.

“The Military High Command wishes to use this opportunity to warn misguided politicians who nurse the inordinate ambition to rule this country outside the ballot box to banish such thoughts as the military under the current leadership remain resolute in the Defence of Nigeria’s Democracy and its growth,” it said.

“We also wish to remind all military personnel that it is treasonable to even contemplate this illegality. The full wrath of the law will be brought to bear on any personnel found to collude with people having such agenda. The current security challenges are not insurmountable.

“The Armed Forces of Nigeria in partnership with other other security Agencies are working assiduously to ameliorate the challenge. Nigeria will know peace again. PLEASE BE WARNED!”

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