Amid rumours of a military coup as concerns grow over President Muhammadu Buhari’s health, the United Kingdom has warned against “non-democratic” change of government in the country.
“The British government believes that democracy is actually critical in Nigeria,” the United Kingdom High Commissioner to Nigeria, Paul Arkwright, said on Wednesday, May 17. “There are elections. If you’re not happy with your leaders then you should change your leadership through the democratic process and through elections.”
The High Commissioner spoke on the sidelines of an event held in Abuja to formally launch a new report on corruption in Nigeria which was put together by UK policy think-tank, Chatham House.
His comments came a day after the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Tukur Buratai, warned of undue interactions between Army officers and politicians, as concerns mount over Buhari’s health.
It was further learnt that the COAS, had raised the issue with Acting President Yemi Osinbajo and promised to nip it in the bud.
The alleged plot might also have informed Buratai’s decision to shake up Army formations with random transfer of senior officers last week.
The UK envoy, Mr. Arkwright, while recognising the rights of citizens to agitate for a more tolerable living condition, said the United Kingdom would only encourage a change of power through the ballot box.
“Our position is very clear: we stand for democracy, we stand for the democratic process and we stand for change —if that is what the people themselves want,” the diplomat said. “That has to be a choice the people make and not a choice that is imposed upon them.”
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