ARMED FORCES PLEDGE LOYALTY TO ACTING PRESIDENT
Armed forces pledge loyalty to Acting President
From JAMES OJO, Abuja
Thursday, March 04 , 2010
The nation's Armed Forces last night pledged their unalloyed loyalty to Acting President Goodluck Jonathan and the Constitution of the Federal Republic.
The undertaking of the military was conveyed to the leadership of the House of Representatives by the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Paul Dike, at a closed door meeting.
Air Chief Marshal Dike was invited for an interface with the House over the deployment of troops by the Brigade of Guards to secure the arrival of ailing President Umaru Yar'Adua from Saudi Arabia where he spent three months to attend to his health.
The deployment of soldiers of the Brigade of Guards raised dust when it was learnt that the acting president was not informed before they were sent to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport. During the peak of the political impasse before the National Assembly empowered Goodluck Jonathan to act as president, the army hierarchy admitted that overtures were made to woo the military.
A warning was issued to politicians to leave the army alone and steer clear of the military, while movement of officers and men were restricted to the barracks. 'They assured us that they had no intention of interrupting government and that they are loyal to the Federal Government and to the constitution,' a source at the meeting said.
It was learnt that the chief of defence staff defended the deployment of troops by the Brigade of Guards, assuring the House that it was a mere routine exercise, which was in line of duty of protecting the president and his family.
In a telephone interview, Chairman of Committee on Defence, Hon. Oluwole Oke, confirmed the meeting and the assurance of the military to defend democracy.
'The military officers in the meeting pledged their unalloyed loyalty to the nation. They assured us that they are not interested in politics, that they are professionals trained to defend the territorial integrity of the nation,' he said.