SAN FRANCISCO, May 17, (THEWILL) – Following fears of imminent military intervention in the nation’s democracy over President Muhammadu Buhari’s state of health, the British government on Wednesday warned against “non-democratic” change of government in Nigeria.
Handing down this warning, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Paul Arkwright, said the United Kingdom would only encourage a change of power through the ballot box, adding that anything outside this will come with dire consequences.
THEWILL had reported the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, as warning those approaching some officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army for undisclosed political reasons to desist from such moves.
He added that all officers and soldiers interested in politics should resign their commission or immediately apply for voluntary discharge.
But speaking on the sidelines of an event held in Abuja to formally launch a new report on corruption in Nigeria, organised by the UK policy think-tank, Chatham House, Arkwright said, “the British government believes that democracy is actually critical in Nigeria.
“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.
“That has to be a choice the people make and not a choice that is imposed upon them.”
“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 diplomat said.
Buhari had on May 7 travelled to London on a medical vacation to treat an undisclosed ailment barely a month after returning to Nigeria from an extended medical leave abroad.