Major opposition political parties have picked holes in the alarm raised by the Nigerian Army on Saturday that some individuals were working with foreign interest to frustrate the May 29 inauguration of President Mohammadu Buhari for a second term in office.
The Peoples Democratic Party, African Democratic Congress and the Social Democratic Party, apart from distancing themselves from the alleged plot, said the suit instituted against Buhari over his victory at the presidential poll was behind the alarm raised by the military.
The acting Director, Army Public Relations, Col Sagir Musa, also alleged that some foreign interest were working to cause disaffection and divide the Multinational Joint Task Force fighting Boko Haram terrorists and Islamic State for West African Province fighters.
The army spokesman said, “The army has noted with great concern the efforts by some unpatriotic individuals, groups and foreign interest determined to make mischief and exacerbate the security situation in this country in particular and the West African sub-region in general.
“These persons and groups are making efforts to further induce the ISWAP and Boko Haram terrorists and bandits with funds and other logistic support. Their body language and unguarded utterances seem to be in tandem with the above and imply a tacit support for the criminals.”
Musa added, “Some of these mischievous elements thought that we would not have safe and successful general elections but were proved wrong. Hence they want to derail the scheduled handover later this month and to scuttle the democratic process in the country.
“We note that foreign interest are also working assiduously to cause disaffection and divide the coalition, MNJTF, to give room for ISWAP and its defeated local franchise, the Boko Haram terrorists' group, to resurrect.”
There have security crises in the North-West region, ranging from banditry and killings in Zamfara, Katsina and Sokoto states, to the Boko Haram attacks in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states in the North-East.
The army had, on Friday, confirmed that its current threat assessments indicated the migration of bandits from Zamfara State to Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, Sokoto and Niger states.
It added that it was expanding its operation, Harbin Kunama 3, to cover the affected states.
The army also said on Saturday that it was usually called in when insecurity got worse while the public expected miracles.
The army spokesman said, “The army is a stakeholder in the national security and sustenance of democracy. Additionally, we are making this statement because the military, particularly the army, has always been called upon to intervene in conflict situations and resolve crises in most cases when they get worse, while the public expect miracles.
“We reiterate our loyalty to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and to defend the territorial integrity of this nation from both external and internal aggression. Nigeria is a sovereign country with a clearly established judicial system. Therefore, all aggrieved persons and groups should take advantage of that and resolve their differences amicably.”
We'll use legitimate means to retrieve our mandate –PDP
But the PDP said it was not involved in any alleged plan to disrupt the handover ceremony on May 29 or working with any foreign elements to destabilise the country.
The party said it was behind the enthronement of democratic rule in the country since 1999, wondering how it would now turn back to work against such an institution it helped to build.
The National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, who spoke with one of our correspondents, said the party must not be counted among any group behind such a plot.
He said the PDP believed that its mandate was stolen at the national level, adding that as a law-abiding party, it would allow the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal to adjudicate on the matter.
Secondus stated, “Allegations are being made here and there without any concrete evidence. If there are people making efforts at derailing the democratic institution in the country, we can never be part of it.
“The PDP built the democratic institution that the All Progressives Congress is enjoying today. We are democratic in nature and in name.
“We know that our mandate was stolen by the APC in connivance with the Independent National Electoral Commission. We are law-abiding and that is why we are already in court to retrieve our stolen mandate.
“We know that the Nigerian people are with us and are going to celebrate soon when we get our mandate. So, tell them that we are not part of any group of individuals or institutions that may be working to achieve what the army claimed.”
Secondus said the PDP would not support anyone or individual that “does anything outside the constitution to seek redress on any issue.”
We're not part of such plans, says ADC
Also, the African Democratic Congress, on Saturday, said it would never be part of any plan to derail the nation's democracy.
The party's National Publicity Secretary, Yemi Kolapo, said this in an interview while reacting to the alarm raised by the army.
Kolapo said although the ADC believed that Alhaji Atiku Abubakar won the presidential election, the party would never take the law into its own hands.
She stated, “The ADC, as a party, will never be part of any plan to halt our democracy. Of course, we believe that Alhaji Atiku Abubakar won the last presidential election and the case is currently in court.
“So, as a party, we believe in the rule of law and legitimate means of retrieving the mandate. We do not believe in violence and we shall not encourage such.”
Army should tackle insecurity, stop raising the alarm – SDP
In the same vein, the National Publicity Secretary of the Social Democratic Party, Alfa Mohammed, advised the Nigerian Army to tackle the security challenges facing the country rather than raising the alarm.
Mohammed said, “It is the responsibility of the Nigerian Army to ensure safety of lives and property. They should carry out their constitutional responsibility instead of raising the alarm.”