LAGOS, May 22 (Reuters) - Nigeria has paid a high price to achieve democracy and will foil any attempts by those hoping to stage a coup, the national leader of Nigeria’s ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) party said on Monday.
Bola Tinubu’s warning came after the chief of army staff last week ordered officers to steer clear from politics and said he had received information that some soldiers had been approached by individuals for “undisclosed political reasons”.
“Just a few days ago we heard a warning that some people were trying to entice the military out of the barracks. I want to add my voice to that warning,” Tinubu, who leads President Muhammadu Buhari’s APC party, said in a speech to the state assembly in Lagos.
“Those who think they can break the democracy for which so many laboured and which too many sacrificed limb and life, are sorely mistaken. Nigeria has come too far for such a thing.... don’t think about it.”
He did not specify who he was referring to in the speech.
President Buhari, who is on his second medical leave this year for an undisclosed ailment, has been widely criticised over his handling of Africa’s largest economy since taking office in May 2015.
Nigeria has entered its second year of a recession, largely caused by low oil prices, that has seen a dollar scarcity and high inflation.
His deputy, Yemi Osinbajo, has been acting president since the 74-year-old former military ruler left for Britain on May 7.
Nigeria has been under civilian rule since 1999 after military dictatorships held power for the vast majority of the years following independence from Britain in 1960.
Buhari was also the nation’s military head of state from December 1983 to August 1985, when he was deposed in a coup. (Reporting by Alexis Akwagyiram, editing by Pritha Sarkar)