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Nigeria: Coup rumours reflect rising distrust in Buhari’s absence

Nigerian military forces on international duty. Credit: AU-UN ST PHOTO / STUART PRICE

Lagos, Nigeria| AFRICAN ARGUMENTS| Last week, Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, issued a stern warning to soldiers to stay out of politics, raising alarm of a potential coup plot.

His statement claimed that individuals had been approaching army officers for political reasons, and cautioned: “Any officer or soldier of the Nigerian Army found to be hobnobbing with such elements or engaging in unprofessional conducts such as politicking, would have himself or herself to blame.”

Since that warning, the army has reportedly stepped up security measures and transferred several senior officers, while prominent figures have spoken out against the possibility of a coup.

This talk of a covert plot to take power is the latest conspiracy theory to do the rounds in Nigeria since President Muhammadu Buhari’s health took a turn for the worse earlier this year. Buhari spent nearly two months in London for medical treatment from mid-January to mid-March. On his return home, he said that he had never been “so sick” in his life and talked about undergoing “blood transfusion”.

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