Senior lawyers push for probe of Buratai’s claim
Lt- General Tukur Buratai, Chief of Army Staff
Senior lawyers are demanding for probe of Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai’s claim that some officers have been hobnobbing with politicians.
The lawyers stressed that the matter should not end with Gen. Buratai merely issuing a statement and warning those involved to retrace their steps.
British High Commissioner to Nigeria Paul Arkwright, also yesterday, said: “The British Government believes that democracy is actually critical in Nigeria.”
According to online newspaper Premium Times, the High Commissioner, who spoke at the sideline of an event in Abuja to present a report on corruption in Nigeria sponsored by the United Kingdom policy think-tank, Chatham House, said: “There are elections. If you’re not happy with your leaders then you should change your leadership through the democratic process and through elections.”
Gen. Buratai, according to a statement by army spokesman Brig.-Gen. Sani Usman, has warned officers and soldiers to steer clear of politics or have themselves to blame.
He advised personnel, who were interested in politics, “to resign their commission or apply for voluntary discharge forthwith.”
Brig.-Gen. Usman said the warning followed information received by Gen. Buratai that “some individuals have been approaching some officers and soldiers for undisclosed political reasons”.
“On the basis of that, the army chief, has warned such persons to desist from these acts.He also reminded them that Nigerian army is a thorough professional, disciplined, loyal and apolitical institution that has clear constitutional roles and responsibilities.
“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.”
Activist-lawyer Femi Falana (SAN) described the statement as “very disturbing”.
He added: “It is hoped some officials of the Federal Government are not playing into the hands of anti-democratic forces. In particular, the government should stop giving the impression that there is political instability in the country. For instance, are we to wait for President Muhammadu Buhari who is on an indefinite medical vacation when Section 145 of the Constitution has transferred all presidential powers to the Acting President?