The President Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led Federal Government has dismissed any fears of a military coup in Nigeria, saying the country has fully embraced democracy and that the country’s democratic institutions were becoming stronger.
The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, stated this following the latest coup in Africa.
Recall that some military personnel in Gabon seized power and placed the ousted President, Ali Bongo, and his family members under house arrest. Gabon is in Central Africa.
After the forceful takeover, which brought to seven the number of coups on the continent within the past three years, the soldiers announced the annulment of last Saturday’s presidential election that renewed Bongo’s prolonged rule, bringing to an abrupt end the Bongo family’s 56-year rule in the country.
The Gabon coup is coming a few months after military officers staged a coup in the Niger Republic and detained the West African country’s President, Mohamed Bazoum.
Speaking in an interview with The PUNCH, Mohammed Idris said the fact that some African countries witnessed coups in recent times did not put Nigeria under any form of fear, noting, “I can tell you that there is no fear or apprehension at all. We have gone past that, and we have been a democratic country all this while with the institutions of democracy getting stronger.”
The minister stated, “Nigeria is a different country. Nigerians will no longer accept such, so it will be difficult for anyone, at this point of our national development, to come out to do that or for us to start nursing any apprehension. We have very strong democratic institutions, so it is very difficult for anybody to just take up arms against the state. So, there is no apprehension at all.
“We have to stand up against military takeover anywhere on the continent. That does not mean we are afraid that such could happen in Nigeria. The fact that something like that happened elsewhere does not mean we have to live in fear. No, we have gone past that.”
The Minister debunked any plan to shake up the military, adding that Nigeria’s democracy remained stable and peaceful.
He added, “That does not even arise. Let’s not talk about what does not even exist at all. Nigeria is stable and peaceful, and all our democratic institutions are very strong and are getting stronger. Like I said, there is no fear or apprehension at all.”
On Niger Republic, Mohammed Idris maintained that President Bola Tinubu, who is also the Chairman of ECOWAS, is not interested in any war with Niger.
He said, “The President is interested in the peaceful resolution of this conflict. Of course, he has maintained consistently that there is nothing off the table, but the preference and number one choice for Mr. President is that there should be a very peaceful resolution of the conflict there or the return to democratic order.
“The President is a democrat, and there is no way he will not support democracy anywhere in the world, particularly on the African continent. So, discussions are ongoing, and the fact that something has happened in Gabon does not in any way take away the President’s eyes from the issue in Niger.
“We are not beating the drums of war, and war is the last resort for anybody. The President is not interested in war; he is interested in the peaceful resolution of the constitutional disorder there.”
He stressed that consultations were ongoing on the Niger coup.