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NOTHING WRONG WITH DEPLOYING TROOPS WITHOUT JONATHAN'S KNOWLEDGE

By NBF News

Nothing wrong with deploying troops without Jonathan's knowledge - Reps

… Deny report of coup threat
From JAMES OJO and AARON OSSAI, Abuja
Thursday, March 04 , 2010



House of Representatives yesterday applauded the Nigerian Army for deploying troops to secure the arrival of President Umaru Yar'Adua from Saudi Arabia, even without the knowledge of Acting President Goodluck Jonathan.

Defending the action of the military to denounce the confirmation of coup threat, the House noted that deployment of troops by the Brigade of Guards was a mere routine exercise.

Spokesman of House, Hon. Eseme Eyiboh, denied that the Speaker, Dimeji Bankole, nor any member confirmed that there was a threat to truncate democratic rule when the House met behind closed door on Tuesday.

According to him, the House recognized the commitments of the military as one of the pillars on which democracy stands and that the leadership of the Armed Forces had clearly demonstrated uncommon loyalty to the Federal Government.

'Neither the institution of the office of the speaker, or the speaker himself, or any member insinuated any fact pertaining to coup plot during the executive session. 'Instead, the House commended the Armed Forces for their diligence and commitment to democracy,' he stated.

Eyiboh noted that the report of coup threat in the media was in the imagination of the writer, urging journalists to show greater restraint in reporting the challenges facing the nation.

His counterparts in the Committee on Defence, Hon. Oluwole Oke, remarked that the current leadership of the Armed Forces deserve praises for remaining steadfast in the face of provocation.

According to him, the deployment of troops by the Brigade of Guards was purely routine, which can be done without the approval of the acting president. Likewise, Hon. Umar Bature, chairman of Committee on Foreign Affairs said it was not fair for anybody to allude that the House discussed the issue of coup threat at the closed door meeting.

As a retired army officer, he said the Brigade of Guards is mandated to protect the office of the president and commander-in-chief, hence there was nothing wrong in deploying troops to secure the arrival of President Yar'Adua from Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile, the office of the Speaker Dimeji Bankole has denied a report in a national daily that he confirmed the threat of coup on Tuesday. Special Adviser to the Speaker on Communications, Kayode Odunaro, said the report was not attributed to Dimeji Bankole, or any named member of the House.

According to him, the issues discussed in an executive (closed door) session of the House was based on the utterances of Professor Dora Akunyili, minister of Information and a motion relating to the deployment of troops for the arrival of President Umaru Yar'Adua from Saudi Arabia.

'We state with all emphasis that at no point in the session did the speaker confirm a 'coup threat' or plot as speculatively reported in the lead story and we challenge the reporter to provide proof or name any member or members that confirmed a coup threat.'