Ike Ekweremadu, the deputy president of the Senate, has denied calling for a military coup in the country, saying that he was quoted out of context.
Ekweremadu made the denial on Saturday, March 10, 2018, at the Diepreye Alaimieyeseigha Memorial Banquet Hall, Onopa, Yenagoa, when Seriake Dickson, the governor of Bayelsa State, hosted him and executive members of Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, Africa Region, to a dinner.
The deputy Senate President, who maintained that his comments on the floor of the Senate were misconstrued, insisted that he would never make derogatory statements against the Nigerian military, which he noted remains one of the best fighting forces on the continent.He stressed that statements made by lawmakers in the course of their duty should be situated within the proper context before any form of reaction.
However, the military, through a statement by John Agim, the Director of Defence Information,had argued that Ekweremadu’s comments “in the true sense, has the capacity to denigrate the Nigerian military in every ramification, including its loyalty to the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and the confidence of the public to defend Nigeria’s democracy.”
Ekweremadu was quoted to have said, “We had one of our colleagues from Kogi, who was hosting a constituency briefing and empowerment. He alleged that the state government sponsored thugs to chase away people, disrupt the programme, and destroy the equipment he bought for his people.
“We condemned such acts, especially wherein a particular case, the house of a parliamentarian was pulled down. We condemned a case whereby parliamentarians were stopped from holding meetings and where a parliamentarian was stopped from coming to a state where he was governor for eight years.
“We warned that it was such reckless abuse of power and impunity that scuttled our previous republics, especially the first republic and I cautioned politicians not take our democracy for granted.
“Of course, some people took it out of context and said I was calling for a military coup. I never called for a military coup. I never said the military was planning any coup. Even the military’s statement admitted that my statement was only cautionary and that we were sincere. But they went as far as saying that the international community should ignore my words of caution”, Ekweremadu said.
He added: “I hold the Nigerian Army and the Armed Forces in high regard. They have defended our democracy, our people and have acquitted themselves creditably. If they need anything now, it is an encouragement because this is not the best of times for them.
He added that his remarks on the floor of the Senate were to caution his colleagues to avoid the mistakes of the past which he said led to the abrupt end of the First Republic.
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